Sex offenders not signing on with gardai
SCORES of sex offenders have been caught in breach of laws that require convicted paedophiles and rapists to notify gardai about their whereabouts, it has emerged.
Figures obtained by the Herald showed that between 2010 and 2013 there were 197 detected breaches of the Sex Offenders Act.
While many of the cases are still before the courts, there were 24 convictions for failure to comply with act in 2012 alone. There have also been at least 10 cases so far this year.
It comes as independent TD Denis Naughten called on the Government to do more to prevent foreign sex offenders from hiding out in Ireland - especially those coming from Britain.
Current laws require a convicted sex offender to notify gardai of an address within seven days of leaving prison, or entering the country from a foreign jurisdiction.
Mr Naughten claimed that the laws allowed Ireland to become a "safe haven" for those convicted of serious sexual offences.
He pointed out that in 2009 Dermot Ahern, who was then minister for justice, highlighted that failure to reduce the notification period would lead to the country becoming such a safe haven.
"Yet 65 months later this canyon in our so-called 'sex offenders register' has not been closed off," he said.
Mr Naughten has called for the notification period to be reduced to three days, in line with Britain and Northern Ireland.
A number of sex offenders on the run from the UK have been found in Ireland.
In one major case, Thomas Patrick O'Brien was discovered in Dublin in July 2011 having been on the run for a decade.
He was convicted of the attempted rape, indecent assault and assault causing bodily harm of a man in his 20s in 1998.
He failed to appear at a court hearing in 2001 before being tracked down and arrested by gardai.
The Department of Justice said that as of June 26, 2014, there were 1,357 offenders required to notify their whereabouts to gardai.
Gardai receive notifications regarding convicted sex offenders who travel to this country and the information is recorded on PULSE system, with a division inspector notified as a priority.
The Sex Offender Management and Intelligence Unit (SOMIU) is responsible for the area.
Mr Naughten has introduced a draft law to reduce the notification period for sex offenders, which he says has been accepted by the Government.
"We now need a commitment by Government that this law will be given the highest priority to ensure its passage into law as soon as possible," he said.