The Fines Bill has been passed by the Dáil and is now before the Seanad.
As this piece in the Irish Times argues, it is to be hoped that the judiciary implement the finalised Act in full. District Court sentencing is something about which we know rather little, but the proliferation of short sentence prisoners in Irish jails tends to suggest that minor offences do attract custodial sentences on a not-infrequent basis. I hope this signal from the Oireachtas will lead to a reassessment amongst District Court judges of their sentencing practice and prompt further legislative activity to promote genuine alternatives to custody.
One entirely unnecessary stick to beat the prison system with is about to be removed. There remains more to be done!