Dáil Éireann - Volume 610 - 22 November, 2005

Written Answers. - Sexual Offences.

  500. Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of sex offenders on the register nationally; the number in prison and the number who have completed their prison term; the number on the register who were convicted of an offence while on the register; a county breakdown of the persons on the register but now released; the obligations on the offender who is listed on the register; if he has satisfied himself with the way in which the register is operating; and if he has satisfied himself further that there are adequate safeguards provided to protect the public in the maintenance of the register. [35530/05]

  Mr. McDowell: I have been informed by the Garda authorities that the Sex Offenders Act 2001 does not create a sex offenders register, nor is the term “register” mentioned or used in the legislation. The Act requires persons to be sub[1422] ject to notification requirements under Part 2 of the Sex Offenders Act 2001. The Garda Síochána has responsibility for enforcement of the Sex Offenders Act 2001. To date, there are 859 persons subject to these requirements.

I am further informed that it is not the policy of the Garda Síochána to provide a breakdown of persons subject to the Sex Offenders Act 2001 on a county basis for operational reasons. Persons do not become subject to the Sex Offenders Act until their release from prison. Under Part 5 of the Sex Offenders Act 2001 the courts can sentence an offender who has been found guilty of an offence under the schedule of offences in the Act to a period of statutory supervision under the probation and welfare service on their release from prison. Since the Act came into force in October 2001 the courts have made 171 post-release supervision orders.

Section 10 of the Sex Offenders Act 2001 sets out the obligations on persons subject to the Act. A convicted sex offender must notify his or her name and current home address to the Garda Síochána within seven days of the conviction for the sexual offence concerned or, where the offender is sentenced to imprisonment, from the date of full release from prison. Thereafter, the offender must notify the Garda of any change of name or address within seven days of that change. Notification of any address where the offender spends either as much as seven days or two or more periods amounting to seven days in any 12 month period must also be given to the Garda. If the offender intends to leave the State for a period of seven days or more he or she must inform the Garda of this fact and the address at which he or she intends to stay and also notify the Garda of his or her return. The provisions of the Act extend to any sex offenders entering this jurisdiction from abroad who have an obligation to register in their own countries.

The provisions of the Sex Offenders Act 2001 are kept under regular review by my Department to ensure they are operating in a satisfactory manner. I regret that in the time available it has not been possible to obtain the information requested by the Deputy in regard to the number of persons who were convicted of an offence while subject to notification requirements under Part 2 of the Sex Offenders Act 2001. I will contact the Deputy again in regard to this matter.