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17.40 11 Jun 2014


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The way has been paved for the establishment of a DNA database system to help solve crime.

The Seanad today passed the Criminal Justice (Forensic Evidence and DNA Database System) Bill 2013. It was already approved by the Dail on May 1st and will see forensics technology used to link unsolved crimes and identify suspects.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has described it as a 'momentous day' which sees Ireland join the ranks of countries already using DNA technology to investigate and prosecute crimes.

She also believes that the Bill - which is due to be signed into law by the President shortly - provides adequate consideration to human rights.

The Minister went on to state "This is a comprehensive piece of legislation that has evolved and developed after much consideration and consultation".

"Human rights considerations were very much to the fore throughout this process. I was acutely aware of the need to strike an appropriate balance between the use of the DNA database in the investigation of crime in the public interest and of the individual's constitutional right to fair process, privacy and their good name".

"I am confident that this Bill, with its many safeguards, particularly in relation to children and protected persons, achieves that balance" she added.

The database, when established, will have the capacity to link crimes and to identify suspects in relation to unsolved crimes, while helping gardaĆ­ to better target their investigations.

The database will be established and operated by the Forensic Science Laboratory (to be renamed Forensic Science Ireland under the Bill) of the Department of Justice.

The Bill runs to some 220 pages and comprises 13 parts, 172 sections and four schedules.


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