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PJ Browne: Public must know where he lives

The new revelations about rapist Michael Murray raise a crucial question -- what are our priorities?

If a violent criminal like Murray is living in your locality, do you have a right to know, as a private citizen, a parent, a spouse?

Speaking on the back of more than 35 years experience as a garda, I say you do.

The citizens of Inchicore are entitled to know if a notorious sex offender is living in their midst. Murray's rights are completely outweighed by those of parents and women at risk.

The revelation that he was living at the Metropolitan Apartments in Inchicore raises serious issues.

Were the gardai in Kilmainhan notified that this man was living in the area?

Who is responsible for monitoring him, considering that he was released from prison early, last summer?

Given that his crimes were committed before the introduction of the Sex Offenders Register, is Murray obliged to notify anyone of his location?

Will the State only know of his whereabouts on an ad hoc basis, from concerned locals?

When I read the heartfelt protests of Inchicore residents, I hear a clear sense of worry and concern.

Worry becomes anxiety and anxiety then becomes fear. After fear there could be a situation of mob rule. Groups like dissident Republicans can become involved on a vigilante basis.

In this case local Supt Thady Muldoon will deploy his officers for as long as Murray stays there, be assured of that.

The more the gardai know about offenders like Murray the more they can monitor him, protecting others from him, and protecting him from vigilantes.

I can't understand how Murray got five years off his sentence for a violent sexual crime and is now posing a risk once more.

After all, the safety of our citizens goes hand in hand with the security of our State.

Any right Michael Murray, a violent recidivist rapist, has to privacy or re-housing is clearly superseded by the law-abiding public's right to know.

PJ Browne is a former detective superintendent with over 35 years experience policing serious crime. He was chief of detectives in the area where Murray now resides