A victims' group has called for minimum sentences for those convicted of killing in order to insure a greater consistency in sentencing.

The AdVIC organisation today held a remembrance service in Dublin city centre during which the names of 503 victims of homicide were read out while relatives lit candles.

AdVIC co-founder Joan Deane said members believe that the criminal justice system is unfair and balanced too much towards the wrongdoer whose rights are paramount.

She said they are not being vengeful but just believe the punishment should fit the crime.

Chairperson Barbara Clinton's father, Paig was killed by one of two men who planned to rob and stab him, but despite this they were only convicted of manslaughter.

The man who killed her father has since been released after serving a sentence of ten years which would be six-and-a-half years with remission.

She still feels it is a "disgrace" that the crime was classified as manslaughter adding "he is free to live his life, none of our lives have ever been the same".

A new act is due to come into force which will increase from seven to 12 years the length of time a life-sentence prisoner has to serve before being allowed to apply for parole.

It will also give victims' families a statutory say in proceedings.

Fianna Fáil's justice spokesperson Jim O'Callaghan, who attended today’s service, introduced the act as a private members' bill and said that for too long victims' families have been at the periphery of the criminal justice system.

Also in attendance was Independent Senator Louise O'Donnell who is going to attempt for a third time to introduce a bill that would allow judges to impose minimum sentences for those convicted of murder or manslaughter.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris also attended today's service in a private capacity.