New DNA database will have profiles of 1,000 sex offenders

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

THE new DNA database will contain profiles of over 1,000 sex offenders.

It will allow the Gardai to match a DNA profile from a persona to an unidentified DNA crime scene profile – and also to quickly eliminate other suspects.

The new DNA database will also include past and present samples from crime scenes – in a move which may help to resolve unsolved cases.

It will operate using software supplied by the FBI at the Forensic Science Laboratory – which is based in Garda Headquarters in the Phoenix Park.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter said that the database would include all those on the sex offenders register once the legislation came into effect. There are currently 1,280 people on the sex offenders register.

Gardai will be allowed to take mouth swabs or hair follicles from convicted criminals and criminal suspects so that DNA profiles can be created and entered onto the database to check for possible matches against crime scene samples.

As well as sex offenders, most of the samples taken will be from suspects arrested in connection with serious offences carrying sentences of five years or more.

Mr Shatter said he had already given resources to the Forensic Science Laboratory to hire specialist staff and to purchase sophisticated robotic sample handling instruments to handle a high number of samples for the DNA database.

“I am determined to ensure that the DNA Database is ready for use as soon as the legislation is enacted,” he said.