Father of slain man backs call for ballot on death penalty


THE father of murdered businessman Roy Collins has supported controversial comments by the Mayor of Limerick who is seeking the reintroduction of the death penalty as a deterrent to criminality.

Steve Collins made his remarks yesterday after Mayor Kevin Kiely called for a referendum on the return of capital punishment.

Mayor Kiely made the call last week following the murder of 24-year-old Lee Slattery, whose body was found in a shallow grave in a field on the outskirts of Limerick city.

It’s believed the drug addict was shot three times and dumped in the grave by north-side criminals because of an unpaid drugs debt.

Cllr Kiely said the Government had to consider the death penalty issue if it was serious about preventing future murders.

“Once it has been established beyond reasonable doubt that these people are responsible and have been convicted for carrying out a murder, the death penalty should be imposed upon them,” he said.

“Until such a time that we bring in draconian laws to tackle people who have been involved in murders and numerous murderers, the whole situation is going to escalate,” he said.

Speaking yesterday, Steve Collins, whose son Roy was shot dead while working in the family business in April 2009, said he fully supported Cllr Kiely’s stance.

“It [the death penalty] was taken away because people thought things were getting stable, but things have gotten out of hand now. There are so many serious criminals out there doing serious things, and life means nothing any more,” Mr Collins said.

“If you have a deterrent there in place where you know if you take a gun up and end somebody’s life, you’re going to be giving up your life for that – if you have that deterrent in place, people will think again about carrying a gun and putting themselves in that position,” he continued.

Amnesty International has described the death penalty as a crude form of revenge and not a deterrent to serious crime.

John Lannon, of Amnesty’s Limerick branch, said capital punishment must be opposed for a number of reasons. “The death penalty is outlawed by international law, it is a violation of fundamental human rights,” he said.