Demands for ‘zero tolerance’ to be shown to thugs who attack frontline workers

Demands for ‘zero tolerance’ to be shown to thugs who attack frontline workers
Paramedics in Cork have spoken of knives being pulled on them and other assaults when attending calls. Pic: iStock

Calls have been made for a zero-tolerance policy for “thugs” who attack emergency and frontline workers.

Fianna Fáil are hoping a new bill, which provides for a mandatory prison sentence for anyone convicted of an assault on a member of the emergency services, is progressed through the Oireachtas as quickly as possible.

Fianna Fáil Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee has said there can be no tolerance shown to the thugs who attack emergency and frontline workers.

The Echo revealed in recent weeks that ambulance staff in Cork have had knives and machetes pulled on them while at work.

A Cork paramedic told The Echo that he has had a stanley knife pulled on him while he was attending a call in the past year in Cork.

He also recalled another call out where the ambulance crew was confronted by a man brandishing a large machete at the top of the stairs of a house they attended.

He said the fear of attack is almost ever present for ambulance staff in the region and across Ireland.

Meanwhile, almost 400 frontline hospital staff have been attacked in the past decade.

Senator Clifford-Lee said such attackers should feel the full force of the law if convicted.

“There have been two separate instances in the last week where the fire services came under attack,” she explained.

“Windows were smashed at Swords Fire Station while another crew were attacked while extinguishing a blaze in the north of the city.

“This is simply disgusting and is putting the lives of ordinary Dubliners at risk when they need the support of either the fire or ambulance services,” she added.

“Senseless attacks such as these have no place in our society.

“The emergency services are here to protect us, all of us, they should not have to contend with thugs who fire missiles at them or smash windows.

“It is absolutely apparent that we need further measures to be put in place to deter anyone who threatens assault or causes harm to these workers.

“I look forward to progressing the Fianna Fáil Bill through the Seanad and I hope it receives Government support,” she concluded.

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