Thursday, 29 November 2018

Ceisteanna (100)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

100. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the details of the Garda approach to monitoring persons who are on the register of sex offenders; the responsibilities of the person on the register to inform gardaí of their movements; the position in relation to concerns in the local community that a person on the register is living in its area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49943/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy may be aware, the Sex Offenders Act 2001 provides for the monitoring of convicted sex offenders in the community. Under the 2001 Act, a person who has been convicted of a sexual offence must notify the Garda Síochána of their name and address within seven days. Where a sex offender is sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 2 years or more, he or she will be subject to notification requirements for a period of indefinite duration. The provisions of the Act also extend to any offenders convicted abroad of the same range of sexual offences who enter the State.

The 2001 Act also provides for sex offenders orders where the court can prohibit a convicted sex offender from doing things with a view to protecting the public from harm.

All offenders subject to the notification requirements are monitored by the Sex Offender Management and Intelligence Unit (SOMIU) at the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation. The Unit is supported by Garda Inspectors nominated in each Garda Division throughout the State. I am informed that the nominated Inspector in each Division has access to all necessary resources within his/her Division to assist him/her in carrying out his/her duties. Where An Garda Síochána becomes aware that an offender subject to the notification requirements has breached those requirements, appropriate action is taken. I am advised that the appropriate level of monitoring is carried out by An Garda Síochána and all breaches of the requirements which come to notice are pursued.

In situations where the Garda authorities become aware that a convicted sex offender has left or is intending to leave the State, the Sex Offender Management and Intelligence Unit ensures that the relevant law enforcement agency in the country of destination is advised via Interpol.

The Government has introduced the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) (Amendment) Bill 2018 which provides for presumptive minimum sentences for repeat sex offenders. This Bill is based on existing legislative precedent for presumptive minimum sentences and its introduction is not intended to impact on the review of the principle behind mandatory sentences, which is ongoing. In addition, I intend to bring to Government a Sex Offenders (Amendment) Bill which will strengthen the monitoring of sex offenders in the community, including reducing the notification period from seven to three days. On 28 November, the Scheme of this Bill was subject to pre-legislative scrutiny by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality.