Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has announced legislation that will allow for the electronic tagging of sex offenders in some circumstances.
She said the Sex Offenders (Amendment) Bill – expected to be published in the coming days – would strengthen the monitoring and management of these offenders.
The legislation introduces stricter notification requirements – meaning sex offenders will have to inform the gardaí of a change of address within three days instead of the current seven days.
It also explicitly provides for the courts to prohibit sex offenders working with children or vulnerable people.
The new law will allow for electronic monitoring as well as fingerprinting and photographing of the offender to confirm their identity.
Mixed reaction to new bill
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties has described evidence about the benefits of electronic tagging as “fairly unconvincing”.
Its Executive Director, Liam Herrick, said what was needed was “investment and resources” in The Probation Service and An Garda Síochána.
“The key to managing risk in the community is to use highly-skilled trained staff at The Probation Service and the guards to supervise the most high risk (sex) offenders,” Mr Herrick said.
“Tagging only gives you information about location so we’re not that convinced that it is that useful.”