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02 Dec 2021

Electronic monitoring of sex offenders to be allowed under new legislation

New legislation plans to strengthen the management and monitoring of sex offenders in Ireland

New legislation plans to strengthen the management and monitoring of sex offenders in Ireland

The Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee has announced planned new legislation to strengthen the management and monitoring of sex offenders in the community.

The Sex Offenders (Amendment) Bill 2021 will see a number of amendments to the sex offenders register notification requirements, including electronic tagging and prohibition on convicted sex offenders engaging in certain forms of employment.

Minister McEntee said she understands concerns that communities can have about sex offenders and the concern for public safety. This legislation will aim to alleviate those concerns.

Ms. McEntee said: "It introduces stricter notification requirements - meaning offenders will have to inform the Gardaí of a change of address within three days instead of the current seven days.

"The new law will also allow for electronic monitoring as well as fingerprinting and photographing of the offender, where necessary, to confirm their identity."

The Bill explicitly prohibits convicted sex offenders from working with children or vulnerable people to protect the public and strengthen how the country manages sex offenders.

"Tackling domestic, sexual, and gender-based violence and supporting victims of crime are priorities for me and my Department." she added. 

Minister McEntee also expressed her wish to reform the criminal justice system to make it more victim-centered and said this Bill contains significant measures to help in that work.

The Bill includes: Providing powers to the Garda Síochána to take fingerprints, palm-prints, and photographs to confirm the identity of the person.

Creating a legislative basis for the assessment and management of risk posed by sex offenders across teams involving probation officers, Gardaí and Tusla.

Allowing the Garda Síochána to disclose information relating to persons on the sex offender register, in extenuating circumstances (for example, where there is a serious threat to public safety).

Allowing the Garda Síochána to apply for the discharge and variation of a sex offender order.

Allowing for electronic monitoring of sex offenders to assist in ensuring an offender’s compliance with a sex offender order or post-release supervision order.

The Bill ensures that convicted sex offenders are effectively managed and monitored.

Minister McEntee hopes to enact the Bill in the coming months. 

The latest figures from An Garda Síochána say that 1,708 persons are currently subject to the reporting requirements of Part 2 of the Sex Offenders Act 2001.

The figure includes 319 sex offenders being supervised by the Probation Service in the community, and 192 are on post-release supervision in the community by the Probation Service.

 

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