A Government review into laws governing sex work needs to be scrapped, Sex Workers Alliance Ireland has said.
The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 criminalised the purchase of sex and mandated a review of the legislation three years after its passage.
Earlier this week, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee confirmed to the Dáil that the individual in charge of the review has resigned.
"My Department will advertise shortly to commission a new person to complete the review," Minister McEntee told the Dáil.
SWAI said the Department of Justice did not inform them and are concerned much of the data is now out of date.
“[The review] wasn’t started until 2021 and we have enquired about this process,” SWAI spokesperson Linda Kavanagh said.
“It’s been an incredibly frustrating process [and] we want to communicate to Helen McEntee our concerns, our worries and why we’re making this demand to scrap the review and start again.”
'We need this to be done properly'
Ms Kavanagh said the review process has been “opaque” and the Department of Justice needs to listen to their concern.
“Lives are at stake here,” she said.
“People’s safety is at stake here, so we need this to be done properly and we really feel like there needs to be a new independent reviewer and a new report with commitment from start to finish to ensure that sex workers’ voices are heard.”
In a statement to Newstalk, the Department of Justice said:
"As the Minister outlined in the Dáil, an independent consultant was commissioned to undertake the Part 4 statutory review but, due to a number of reasons, and most particularly her work to complete the independent study on Familicide and Domestic and Family Violence Death Reviews, it has not been possible to complete the work within the desired timeframe.
"The study lead and the Department mutually agreed that regretfully, it is not possible for her to complete the Part 4 review at this time.
"The Minister acknowledges that this review has been significantly delayed and regrets that, due to unforeseen circumstances, it has not been possible to complete it sooner.
"The Department will advertise shortly to commission a person to undertake this review. Officials are considering the best way it can be taken forward without further delay, and taking into account a number of relevant issues, including the best use of work that has been completed to date.
"The Minister and Department wish to see the final review published as soon as possible. Once the review is completed and the report received, any recommendations made will be considered as a priority."
Main image: Minister for Justice Helen McEntee. Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews