Pressure to tighten Garda monitoring of sex offenders

The Government is under pressure to introduce new laws which would help gardaí monitor convicted sex offenders.

Independent TD Denis Naughten has proposed a bill which requires sex offenders to register their presence in Ireland or their release from prison within three days.

Currently, offenders can travel into and around Ireland for up to a week before being required to notify gardaí of their stay.

The Government last night promised legislation to update sex offender laws would be published soon. However, Mr Naughten argued that the laws needed to be updated as quickly as possible.

“At present, a convicted high-risk paedophile can visit Ireland from Britain or Northern Ireland and roam freely throughout the country without registering with the gardaí for up to a week,” said the TD for Roscommon/South-Letrim.

The Department of Justice says information on offenders is shared with the public only in “exceptional circumstances”.

However, Justice Minister Alan Shatter said he wants to put this arrangement on a statutory footing.

Unrestricted access to offender names and addresses would be counterproductive to the close monitoring of high-risk offenders once they are released, his department says.

Mr Shatter intends to bring proposals to Government in the coming months on amending the Sex Offenders Act, which would make it law for the public, including parents, to be given ‘disclosure’ about high-risk offenders.

“In the meantime, this dangerous loophole in the monitoring of high-risk sex offenders remains open for abuse,” Mr Naughten said.

Mr Naughten’s proposals would require a convicted sex offender to register within three days of being released from prison or arrival within the State, in line with British law.

Changes would also create a system which would enable parents to enquire if persons coming into contact with children or vulnerable adults were convicted of a sexual offence or pose a danger.


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