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Number of sex offenders failing to report doubles

SEX OFFENDERS who are failing to report to gardai are on the rise.

The amount of registered sex offenders breaching their notification requirements to gardai doubled last year.

Irish and foreign nationals residing here are obliged to inform gardai of their name, date of birth, home address and any changes of residency under the Sex Offenders Act 2001.

Official figures show that there were just 16 breaches of notification requirements in 2008.

But this figure jumped to 24 in 2009 and a massive 50 last year.







BREACHED

There were 10 prosecutions for breaches in 2008 and, reflecting the number of breaches, this increased to 15 in 2009, with 21 in the first half of 2010.

These resulted in three convictions in 2008, nine in 2009 and 15 in the first six months of 2010.

Garda figures show there were a little more than 1,100 registered sex offenders for each of the years 2008 to 2011.

This means that one in every 20 offenders -- or 5pc -- breached their conditions in 2010.

At a local level gardai, through nominated inspectors, regularly make enquiries to ensure that the sex offenders are still residing at the addresses given in the notification form and other information is accurate and up-to-date.

These provisional figures were provided to Fine Gael's Denis Naughten by the CSO.

He said the Sexual Offences Bill would give gardai legal powers to inform people where a sex offender posed a risk.

But he said that it was worrying that the number was on the rise. "It's clear the registration process in itself is not working," he said.

"That clearly makes the argument we need to introduce legislation that will give parents and community organisations information regarding individuals in certain circumstances."



CONCERN

He said that it was significant that this amount breached the legislation and is based on what gardai recorded.

He added: "Are gardai identifying all of them? Are people slipping through the net?"

Rape crisis support groups said that any breach was a matter for concern but they noted that the rate has been maintained this year. However, they are satisfied that gardai are monitoring the number of sex offenders and are instantly aware of any breaches.

Ellen O'Malley-Dunlop, of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, urged the government not to cut garda resources.

Cliona Saidlear of the Rape Crisis Network of Ireland said resources must be targeted at sex offenders who are assessed as posing an ongoing risk.

clairemurphy@hnews.ie