AS public anger mounts at this morning’s early release from prison of rapist Larry Murphy, it has emerged the Government has backtracked on plans to tag sex offenders after leaving prison.
Just four months ago Justice Minister Dermot Ahern reaffirmed his intention to frame legislation requiring the post-release electronic tagging of sex offenders.
“It is a complex area and we have existing legislation which would potentially allow tagging for sex offenders on temporary release,” he said in March.
Now, the minister’s department has confirmed the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act do not allow for the electronic monitoring of offenders who have completed their sentence.
It has also confirmed that while the Irish Prison Service will soon begin a pilot project in which prisoners on temporary release will be tagged with GPS technology, sex offenders will not be included.
“There are no immediate plans to introduce electronic tagging for other categories or circumstances,” said a spokesperson.
Rapist Larry Murphy has completed more than 10 years of his 15-year term for the rape and attempted murder of a Carlow businesswoman in February 2000.
The 45-year-old will walk free from Arbour Hill prison today but will not be electronically tagged.
Under the terms of his release Murphy has seven days before he has to inform gardaí of his address. It could be given as “no fixed abode”.
Yesterday, Mr Ahern said Murphy was entitled to the remission which sees him leave prison before completing his sentence.
“Any suggestion that I can as minister change, in relation to any particular individual, a court sentence is just absolutely nonsense,” he said.
Fine Gael’s children spokesman Charlie Flanagan said Murphy had made no attempt to undergo rehabilitative treatment while in prison and the practice of extending remission to sex offenders should stop.
At the time of his arrest 10 years ago Murphy was living in Baltinglass in Co Wicklow.
Locals have expressed concern Murphy may move back to the area but it is understood gardaí privately feel Murphy is unlikely to do so, possibly out of fears for his safety.
Larry Murphy’s brother, Tom, has said he will not be making contact with the convicted rapist and it is understood his estranged wife has left the Wicklow area with her children ahead of his release today.
He has been linked to the earlier disappearances of three women — Jo Jo Dullard, Deirdre Jacob and Annie McCarrick — but has never been questioned in relation to any of the cases.
Sinn Féin is to hold a meeting of residents in nearby Grangecon tomorrow night.
A Facebook page, ‘Dont let Larry Murphy out’ received more than 1,000 supporters in the last 24 hours. At the time of going to press there were 15,500 supporters.
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