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Ireland and US agree to share travel information of convicted child sex offenders

The Cabinet approved the sharing of travel information of child sex offenders from the US to Ireland and vice versa.

Image: Shutterstock/Banlai

MINISTER SIMON COVENEY today secured approval to sign a letter of intent with the US to allow the exchange of international travel information of convicted child sex offenders.

The approval by Cabinet today will allow An Garda Síochána to sign the letter of intent with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations to facilitate the sharing of travel information of sex offenders from the US to Ireland and vice versa.

While such information has been shared in the past, this memorandum puts the agreement between the two countries on a more formal footing, according to a government spokesperson.

Operation Angel Watch

This exchange of information forms part of a US programme entitled ‘Angel Watch’, established by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement to aid the prevention of child sex tourism.

Operation Angel Watch targets individuals who have previously been convicted of sexual crimes against a child and who may pose a potential new threat by travelling overseas for the purpose of sexually abusing or exploiting minors.

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The project uses publicly available sex offender registry information and passenger travel data to strategically alert foreign law enforcement partners of a convicted child predator’s intent to travel to their country. In 2015, over 2,100 notifications to more than 90 countries were made through the programme.

With Ireland agreeing to continue co-operating with such a scheme, the US has made similar approaches to other EU Member States. The UK and Slovakia have both signed-up to the agreement.

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