Sex offenders could be electronically tagged and monitored under a new bill being published today.
The Justice Minister Helen McEntee is today publishing the Sex Offenders (Amendment) Bill, which includes a range of new measures for tracking convicted sex offenders.
There are currently more than 1,700 people subject to reporting requirements under Ireland’s existing laws – with a further 433 prisoners due to be monitored on their release.
In certain circumstances, the new bill would allow Gardaí to warn members of the public about convicted sex offenders living in their area.
There will also be tighter rules governing the Sex Offenders’ Register – with offenders required to notify Gardai of any change of address within three days, down from the current seven.
The courts will also be explicitly able to bar offenders from working with children or vulnerable people.
Gardaí will also be able to take fingerprints, palm-prints and photographs to confirm the identity of the person.
The legislation also provides for electronic monitoring of sex offenders; however, the Department of Justice said detailed planning and procurement is needed – meaning it may be some time before this new bill is passed and then enforced.
Rape survivor Debbie Cole told Newstalk the plans will offer much greater peace of mind to survivors.
“In my own case, the offender that raped me has been roaming around Ireland in different places since his release and it has my nerves on edge not knowing where he is or if I am going to bump into him,” she said.
“So, for me personally, to know that the Gardaí know where he is, is going to be hopefully a deterrent for him and other sex offenders.”
She said the electronic tagging will make the country a safer place.
“This is going to have such a positive impact on survivors feeling safe and the general public feeling safer – that these offenders are tagged and are monitored,” she said. “It is just the best news ever.”