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Question

2. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to amend the Chemical Act 2008 to deal with the regulation of sale of corrosive substances; if legislation is required to deal with the use of acid as a weapon; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21174/19]

Answer

Deputy Charles Flanagan: I am aware of the vicious and horrific attack in Waterford City on 25 April where the perpetrators of a serious crime used a corrosive substance to attack three young victims. Garda investigations into this assault are continuing and I do not want to say anything in this House that might pre-empt that investigation in any way. I urge anyone with information to contact Waterford Garda Station on 051 305300 or the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111. This was a truly shocking incident. Corrosive substance attacks can result in some of the most horrendous, life-altering injuries and I utterly condemn the perpetrators of this violent attack. I expect that the full force of the law will be brought down on anyone found to have carried out such an attack in this jurisdiction. I wish the victims of this attack a speedy and full recovery. I spoke directly to the parents of the three boys in question and I acknowledge the particular and horrific nature of the crime.
In terms of criminal legislation, the punishment for such a crime can be up to life imprisonment and I cannot see that further criminal legislation is needed. I do acknowledge however what Deputy Ó Laoghaire has said. Assault offences are dealt with comprehensively under the Non-fatal Offences against the Person Act 1997.
The Deputy raised other legislation in particular the Chemicals Act 2008 which would primarily be a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Deputy Humphreys. I have spoken directly to her on this issue. I also refer to the Poisons Act 1961 which provides for the regulation and control of the distribution and sale of poisons, which is the responsibility of the Department of Health. The expertise in these matters rests in those two Departments. I have spoken directly to Deputy Humphreys and asked my officials to make contact with those Departments to see if there is anything further that needs to be done that might reduce the risk of similar attacks in the future.