THE INDEPENDENT TD Michael Healy-Rae has called for a debate on the possibility of expanding gun ownership in Ireland particularly in rural areas to allow people to protect their homes and property.
The Kerry South TD, who legally owns three different guns, has raised the possibility that people should be allowed to buy guns to protect themselves, something which is not currently legal in Ireland.
Speaking to Today with Pat Kenny on RTÉ Radio this morning, Healy-Rae said that regulations already in place would mean it would not be a big problem to expand the terms under which guns can be acquired in Ireland.
“People who possess gun licences, they treat their licence with respect, they treat their gun with respect, they don’t want anybody who should not be holding that gun to ever get near it,” he said.
“So that wouldn’t really be, to me, a very big problem because of the regulations that are already in place.”
The independent deputy accused the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter of having “failed and failed in an awful way” to protect people in rural communities, citing the recent closure of over a hundred garda stations which he claimed was actually costing the government more.
The Department of Justice referred a query about Healy-Rae’s remarks to the Garda Commissioner who it said was the head of the licensing authority.
An Garda Síochána said it was not in a position to comment on legislation or proposals made about legislation or remarks made by politicians.
The Irish Examiner which carries quotes from Healy-Rae this morning, says that there are currently 220,000 firearms certificates on issue in Ireland, the vast majority are for shotguns used for sport and hunting rifles.
Healy-Rae also defended a quote from him that appears in the latest edition of the Garda Review in which he states: “It’s no harm for these criminals to know that if they engage in this type of activity they may leave the home that they break into in a wooden box.”
He told RTÉ this morning that he would “stand over that comment any day of the week”.
He added: “If a person is of the mind that they think they can break into somebody’s house, terrorise them and get away with it completely, they must remember that sometimes it can go against them and they may leave the house in a wooden box.”