'We take safety of users seriously' - Tinder after sex beast Nevin is jailed
Tinder has said it is "shocked and saddened" after a serial rapist used the online dating app to target women in a spate of assaults across Ireland.
Patrick Nevin (37) became known as the Tinder Rapist after he used the popular app to carry out three attacks in 11 days.
He was jailed on Monday for 12 years after pleading guilty to the rape of a woman in Co Meath in July 2014.
Dublin senator Catherine Noone has called for sex offenders to be banned from dating apps, while Tinder has said it will co-operate with any garda investigations.
A spokesperson for the social media giant said it had "spent millions" on a series of review tools to remove "bad actors" from the app.
These include automatic scans of profiles for red-flag language and images and user- generated reports.
"We are truly shocked and saddened by these events," said the spokesperson.
"At Tinder, we take the safety of our users seriously, and strongly encourage users who believe they have been the victims of crime to report it to law enforcement.
"We encourage users to rep-ort any instances of misconduct via the self-reporting tool featured on all Tinder profiles.
"In the event that we receive such a report, our dedicated community team takes appropriate measures, which may include removing the profile or banning the user."
Culture Minister Josepha Madigan refused yesterday to say if it was appropriate, as a Cabinet member, to comment on the length of Nevin's sentence.
On Monday evening, she tweeted: "12 years is not near enough."
Asked about that comment while attending an event yesterday, Ms Madigan said: "Well, I think the crimes are abhorrent. They are a woman's worst nightmare.
"But I think the sentencing guidelines are up to the judiciary, and as you know, there's a clear delineation between the Oireachtas and the executive of the judiciary."
Following Nevin's sentencing, Fine Gael's Ms Noone called for convicted sex offenders to be banned from certain apps for life.
When asked if dating app companies should introduce safeguards to prevent sex off-enders from using them, a spokesperson for the Department of Communications said: "The conditions of release and parole of sex offenders is a matter for the Department of Justice and Equality."
The Irish Prison Service (IPS) has confirmed that 55 sex offenders have been jailed in the first five months of the year.
Last year, a total of 170 sex offenders were locked up.
The IPS confirmed that at the end of May, there were 417 sex offenders in jail.
Of those, 309 were at the Midlands Prison and 108 at Arbour Hill Prison.
"Sex offenders are housed separately in prison and do not mix with the general population for safety reasons," a spokesman for the IPS said.
He added that the number of sex offenders released in the first six months of this year totalled 109.
The IPS said 101 sex offenders are due to be released before the end of the year.