New law allows Gardaí to show photos of sex offenders to warn schools

Gardaí will soon be able to provide photos of registered sex offenders to schools, colleges and nurseries if they are suspected of being trafficked near their premises.

Under new legislation proposed by Attorney General Helen McEntee, Gardaí will be given more powers to protect the public from sex offenders.

A change in law, due in two weeks before the Dáil, will allow gardaí to give members of the public photos of known offenders who are believed to pose a risk to the public.

The move could result in Gardaí contacting schools, colleges, daycare centers, other institutions or even individuals – to let them know there is a sex offender who poses a potential threat.

It was originally envisaged that legislation would allow Gardaí to contact people to let them know there was a sex offender in their area, but this has now been stepped up to allow them to take a picture of the criminal along with a provide warning about their activities.

Ms McEntee has worked with independent TD Denis Naughten to strengthen sex offender legislation to ensure communities receive a higher level of protection from criminals who pose a significant risk.

“Communities can have very understandable and legitimate concerns about sex offenders and through this legislation we are working to allay those concerns,” said Ms McEntee Irish Independent.

“Permitting An Garda Síochána to provide a photograph of a registered sex offender when they believe there is a legitimate risk to the public will provide communities with reassurance that they are being protected.

“Tackling domestic, sexual and gender-based violence is my priority and passing this legislation is a key action in my ‘Zero Tolerance Plan’ released earlier this year.

“It was my pleasure to work with Deputy Naughten on these actions and I know how much protecting communities means to him, too,” she added.

Mr Naughten said Gardaí come to the attention of at least one convicted sex offender every five days on average because he does not live at the address he has given authorities.

The former independent minister said that in most cases, giving their current address is the only condition sex offenders have to fulfill after their release from prison.

“It’s just not good enough, and I think it puts children and women at unacceptable risk,” he said Irish Independent.

“The proposed law before the Dáil, which I would like to see in place before the end of this year, goes a long way towards ensuring that we have a robust sex offender registry.

“I have identified a number of areas in the new legislation that I believe require further clarification and I would like to acknowledge that by working with Secretary McEntee and her officials, some of these issues are now being addressed and other aspects are being clarified,” he added .

The Sex Offenders Act (Amendment) 2021 provides for a major overhaul of legislation on released sex offenders.

For the first time, the new laws expressly give the courts the power to: a
Sex offenders from working with children or vulnerable adults.

The legislation will also give gardaí the power to take fingerprints, handprints and photographs to confirm an offender’s identity.

It will also introduce an official legislative system for evaluating and dealing with sex offenders in teams involving probation officers, Gardaí and Tusla.

And it will reduce the number of days an offender can leave the state from seven to three before having to notify Gardaí of his whereabouts.

Gardaí will also be able to electronically tag sex offenders released on condition of restricted movement. New law allows Gardaí to show photos of sex offenders to warn schools

Fry Electronics Team

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