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Calls for tagging law as it's revealed 18 sex offenders living near schools in city

NewsBy Shuki Byrne
There are calls for tagging laws to be fast-tracked
There are calls for tagging laws to be fast-tracked

There are calls for tagging laws to be implemented in order to effectively track the movements of known sex offenders following their release.

Eighteen registered sex offenders are living within a close distance of a number of city schools, a report in today's Irish Examiner has revealed.

The revelation is sure to bring the issue of tagging back on the public agenda. 

Offenders post-release are required in many cases to check in with authorities every week and to inform them of their address. However, an offender is almost totally free from surveillance for the rest of the period. 

TD Denis Naugton, a fervent advocate of post-release monitoring of sex offenders, says he's "deeply disappointed" gardai have not been given the power to monitor such offenders. 

"I’m deeply disappointed that additional powers have not been given to the Gardaí for post-release supervision and monitoring of sex offenders, including electronic tagging or for the disclosure of information, under certain circumstances, relating to an offender on the ‘sex offenders register’.

"I had the Child Sex Offenders (Information and Monitoring) Bill 2012 accepted by Dáil Eireann, 2 years ago. The focus of my law was to allow Gardaí to disclose relevant and appropriate information on high risk sex offenders to the parents of children and vulnerable adults if they believe that a child is at risk.

"Those against this law say that it will undermine the human rights of individuals. But we must remember that the human rights of innocent children have to be protected as well.

"Government planned to incorporate the provisions of my law in the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015, but sadly on its publication all measures on the monitoring of sex offenders post their release were excluded."
 
 
The report in today's Irish Examiner revealed that 18 sex offenders are living within walking distance to a number of secondary and primary schools. 
 
The schools include St Agnes's College, St Patrick's, Scoil Mhuire, Bruce College, Hewitt College and Christian Brothers School. 
 
Under current legislation school authorities and parents of students have no right to know if registered sex offenders are living close by. Teachers at one of the aforementioned school said they were "concerned" about the dangers "lurking out there". 
 
Mr Naughton has called on the government to fast-track legislation plans which will make it easier to monitor sex offenders. He says a loophole means an offender only have to spend one of the seven days at their nominated address.
 
"They can spend the other six days wherever they like. In the legislation I have drafted I want them resident at an address for a minimum of three days to a week, like the law in the UK.
 
"Gardai need the protection of the law to be able to do this."