500. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice if she is satisfied with the level of compliance by persons who are subject to the requirements of Part 2 of the Sex Offenders Act 2001; the number of notifications received from other jurisdictions or from Interpol regarding the travel of convicted sex offenders to Ireland during the period 2009 to 2021; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27918/21]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice (Deputy Hildegarde Naughton): As the Deputy is aware, a person found guilty in court of a sexual offence automatically becomes subject to the registration / notification requirements of Part 2 of the Sex Offenders Act 2001. The sex offender is obliged to notify the Gardaí of their name and address for a period and any change in address must be notified within a specified time.
The 2001 Act also provides for the monitoring and supervision of convicted sex offenders in the community through An Garda Síochána and the Probation Service. It further provides for Sex Offenders orders which allow the court to prohibit a convicted sex offender from doing certain things with a view to protecting the public from serious harm. The Gardaí can apply to the courts for a Sex Offenders order and ensure that offenders comply with the terms of such an order.
The Deputy is also aware that it is intended to amend the existing legislation relating to the monitoring of sex offenders and my officials are working closely with the Office of Parliamentary Counsel to advance the drafting of this bill.
Both monitoring and breach of the notification requirements are a matter for An Garda Síochána. I can assure the Deputy that An Garda Síochána engages extensively with other police forces in relation to monitoring the travel arrangements of convicted sex offenders to and from the jurisdiction, particularly in respect of those countries with similar legislation to the Sex Offenders Act 2001.
I understand that notifications on the movements of sex offenders are generally made via the Interpol Office. An Information Sharing Agreement exists between An Garda Síochána and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) supported by a Memorandum of Understanding between the Irish and UK governments which allows the sharing of information directly between the Sex Offender Management & Intelligence Unit (SOMIU), Garda National Protective Services Bureau (GNPSB) and the Public Protection Intelligence Unit, PSNI regarding convicted sex offenders who cross over the border between both jurisdictions.
When the SOMIU receives such a notification, the intelligence is recorded on the Garda PULSE system and the relevant nominated Divisional Inspector involved in the monitoring of sex offenders is notified immediately, who is then required to organise for the monitoring of the offender, and where relevant, the offender is visited to ensure they understand their requirements under Part II of the Act of 2001. In urgent cases, members of An Garda Síochána have attended at ports of entry into the state to advise a travelling sex offender of their obligations under the act.
There are cases however, where persons with convictions abroad enter this jurisdiction and no notification is brought to the attention of An Garda Síochána, typically these type of cases occur where no sex offender legislation exists in the offender’s home country or where the offender leaves their home jurisdiction without notification to law enforcement authorities.