Swapping the poor box for a fudge?

 

Sir, – I refer to your article “Minister to abolish poor box . . .” (News, August 13th) which states that our Minister for Justice is “introducing a new law to replace [the] poor box system with sanctions and probation”. All well and good but further into the article we are told that this legislation will replace the poor box with a statutory repatriation fund in order that some people might be able to avoid a conviction. A rose by any other name . . .?

What is the point in getting rid of a highly unsuitable device only to replace it with another by a different name?

Your article clearly states that the High Court has already ruled on the matter and that it stated that the use of a poor box “would amount to an indirect circumvention of the law”.

In any other country if a law is broken then the law’s remedies and only those remedies, should apply.

If the penalty is to be a fine then that sum of money must always and only go to the coffers of the State.

Surely it is nonsense to continue to allow people to buy their way out of their responsibilities to the law, the State and its citizens? Mr Flanagan calls his new device “a fair, equitable and transparent system of reparation which will apply only to minor offences . . .”.

I would beg to suggest that there is nothing more fair and transparent than upholding the law of the land and the penalties decided upon in law.

As to the silly comments (to my mind at least) that a conviction might be inappropriate, or might adversely affect the prospects of the person who has broken the law, maybe more people might respect the law if they had to suffer the consequences of their actions?

Surely to any sensible person that is only right and just?

If Charlie Flanagan intends to get rid of the poor box, then let him do it completely.

We have had enough of these continual fudges. – Yours, etc,

NOEL LEAHY,

Abbeyfeale,

Co Limerick.