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Irish law currently gives visiting sex offenders seven days to register their presence with Gardaí - while British law only offers three days.
Irish law currently gives visiting sex offenders seven days to register their presence with Gardaí - while British law only offers three days.
Image: Wanderley Massafelli/Photocall Ireland

TD claims Ireland is becoming a 'safe haven for convicted sex offenders'

Denis Naughten takes issue with laws that don’t require sex offenders to register with Gardaí immediately upon arrival here.
Mar 19th 2013, 2:55 PM 7,755 25

A TD HAS CLAIMED that Ireland is becoming “a safe haven for convicted sex offenders” because of a failure to tighten laws requiring visiting offenders to report to Gardaí.

Former Fine Gael TD Denis Naughten says the previous government’s pledge to close a loophole which gives convicted sex offenders up to seven days to register with Gardaí after they first arrive in Ireland.

In 2009 the then-Minister for Justice, Dermot Ahern, said he intended to reduce this period to three days, bringing Ireland into harmony with the UK – but legislation was never introduced and the seven-day period remains in place.

In March of last year the current minister Alan Shatter said he expected to seek government approval for a change in the laws ‘in the coming months’ – but last week said he had not yet done so and that government approval to draft the necessary legislation would be sought “shortly”.

“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 Gardai for up to a week,” Naughten explained.

“In theory, the same notification procedure applied to Irish sex offenders applies for those convicted of serious sexual offences in other jurisdictions, but it is reliant on the offender voluntarily reporting to the Gardaí within seven days of arrival.”

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Naughten has himself published legislation which would modernise the monitoring of sex offenders, and would allow parents and guardians to apply to the Gardaí to be told whether their child may have been in contact with a sexual offender.

His legislation, published last year, has not yet been allocated time for debate in the Dáil.

Read: Judges ‘need guidelines’ for sexual assault sentencing

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Gavan Reilly

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