Wednesday 13 December 2017

120 released sex offenders living among communities

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)

Gordon Deegan

There are 120 sex offenders living in communities across the country and being monitored as part of their post-release supervision programming.

The 120 subject to post-supervision orders represent an increase of six on the total for this time last year.

In the US, under the so-called Megan's Law, state authorities disclose to the public the addresses of freed sex offenders and the crimes they have been convicted of.

In the UK, under 'Sarah's Law', parents are allowed to ask the police if someone who might have contact with their children has a criminal record for child sex offences.

However, a 2015 study showed that just one in six applications was successful, with police citing vigilantism fears as part of the reasons for withholding details.

No such provision exists in Irish law relating to gardaí having to disclose the addresses of freed convicted sex offenders.

According to figures released by Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan, the largest concentration of any released sex offenders subject to post-release supervision is in the Dublin north and north east areas, where 32 are living.

In a written Dáil reply to Fianna Fáil's justice spokesman Jim O'Callaghan, Mr Flanagan confirmed that a further 24 are living in the Dublin south and Wicklow area, while 23 have addresses in the west and north-west - excluding Westmeath.

In his reply, Mr Flanagan confirmed that a further 22 are living in the midlands and the south-east, with 19 living in the south-west.

Around 1,000 sex offenders are obliged to provide local gardaí with their address and any change when moving - however, post-supervision orders go a step further, requiring offenders to undergo psychological counselling or other treatment.

Those sex offenders who breach post-release supervision conditions are liable to prison terms not exceeding 12 months.

Mr Flanagan said figures relating to non-compliance of supervision orders are not readily available.

In a separate Dáil reply to Mr O'Callaghan, Mr Flanagan confirmed there are currently three sex offenders and one killer currently on temporary release.

The latest figures from the Irish Prison Service show that there has been a steady increase in those jailed for sexual offences this year.

At the end of May, the figures show there were 394 sex offenders jailed, an increase of eight since March.

Irish Independent

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