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Gardaí monitoring sex offenders "with both hands tied", TD claims

A new report says that 18 registered sex offenders are living within walking distance of schools in Cork.

Image: Shutterstock/Andrey Burmakin

CALLS HAVE BEEN made for laws on tagging sex offenders to be fast-tracked after it emerged that 18 sex offenders live near Cork schools.

Deputy Denis Naughten called for the laws to be fast-tracked after the Irish Examiner reported today that the known offenders are living in the vicinity of local schools.

He said that gardaí are monitoring such offenders “with both hands tied”.

Sex offenders must register their official address with a garda station, but Naughten said that at present they “can roam around the country for six days, once they turn up at that official address on the seventh day”.

Loopholes

He said there are “dangerous loopholes” in the monitoring of high risk sex offenders, and that “for the last six years we have been waiting on urgent laws” to close them up.

Naughten described the current law, the Sex Offenders Act 2001, as “not fit for purpose” and said it needs to be reformed.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said in September that reforms to the sex offenders register will not be expected for at least another year, Naughten said.

Proposed bill

Naughten has produced a law – the Child Sex Offenders (Information and Monitoring) Bill 2012 – which received Dáil approval in October 2013, and he is urging the Government to act on this law.

He said that it would close off a number of registration loopholes:

but would also create a system which would enable parents to enquire whether persons coming into contact with their child or vulnerable adult have been convicted of a sexual offence or otherwise pose a serious danger.

It would also allow for electronic tagging of offenders deemed high risk.

In a reply to a parliamentary question from Naughten in May of this year, Minister Frances Fitzgerald said that at present there is no provision in the Sex Offenders Act 2001 for the electronic tagging of sex offenders.

Provisions have been included in the General Scheme of the new Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill, which will amend the Sex Offenders Act, to allow for the electronic tagging of sex offenders in certain circumstances. The Bill is scheduled for publication during the current parliamentary session.
Poll: Should the addresses of sex offenders be published?

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