When first given the motion, “Should capital punishment be reintroduced to Ireland?” I thought I would find myself on the argument against reinstatement. However when I sat down to actually think about it, I felt that in certain circumstances it should be.
The death penalty is a very contentious issue. In countries which still utilise it, most notably the United States, it is very rarely far from controversy. “Wrongful conviction” pleas are a common occurrence in criminal cases which result in the death penalty. Famous cases include the Anthony Davis case and that of Lee Harvey Oswald.
This is one of the main reasons why I feel that capital punishment should be reintroduced to Ireland, but only in certain circumstances. I do feel that the majority of criminals should have to serve the full duration of the sentence handed down to them. I also think a life sentence should mean life in prison, not just 25 years with the possibility of early release.
However, if the case arises where a person shows no regard for human life on a grand scale, and tries to destroy as many as possible, I think a life sentence may not be enough. In cases of terrorism or mass murder, the death penalty should be an option as a judicial sentence.
Hypothetically speaking, (I stress “hypothetically”) if someone planted a bomb, or began shooting amongst the crowd on Grafton Street on a busy afternoon, they are showing blatant disregard for the lives of others. They are trying to damage as many lives as they can, not just directly, but indirectly also.
When convicted, the maximum sentence that can currently be handed down to that person in the Republic of Ireland is a life sentence. Why, as tax payers, should we have to pay to keep that person in prison? We are paying for their food, water, shelter and well-being for as long as they are behind bars.
They are a clear danger to society, with no chance of ever being released. This should surely be a clear call for the reintroduction of the death penalty. As stated earlier, I feel the majority of prisoners should have to serve their time in full. The length of their sentence should accurately reflect the severity of their crime so they have the time to reflect upon what they did.
A (hypothetical) mass murderer or terrorist isn’t going to be affected by their time behind bars. They should face the death penalty so that the State can wipe their hands of them and not have to support them in any way.