Gardaí’s ‘hands tied’ when monitoring sex offenders

Gardaí “have both hands tied behind their backs” when it comes to resources and the legal powers to monitor high-risk sex offenders.

Gardaí’s ‘hands tied’ when monitoring sex offenders

The claim was made by an Independent TD determined to push through legislation to ensure sex offenders are better monitored when released from prison.

Denis Naughten made his comments following an Irish Examiner story which highlighted 18 registered sex offenders are living close to a cluster of schools in Cork city.

“At present, once a sex offender registers their official address with any garda station, they can roam around the country for six days, once they turn up at that official address on the seventh day,” the Roscommon–South Leitrim TD said.

“In reality the failure to close off dangerous loopholes in the monitoring of high-risk sex offenders, leaves our system open for abuse and means anyone who wants to avoid garda attention can easily do so, and still comply with the conditions of the ‘so called’ sex offenders’ register.”

He said for the last six years he had been campaigning to get the laws tightened to deal with them.

“However, in September, the justice minister announced that these urgent reforms of the sex offenders’ register are to be long-fingered, with new laws not expected for at least another year,” Mr Naughten said.

“It was expected they would be in place by the end of last year and in fact the current situation is so dire that the Irish Prison Service has been proactive in planning for the new law and already has 50 new electronic tags available for use once the law has been enacted, which is currently costing the service over €100,000 per annum.”

He said it was also expected that the legislation would provide the gardaí with the power to inform a parent or the community of the risk a sex offender poses to a child or the community.

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