Convicted rapist Larry Murphy’s release has put the issue of public access to information about sex offenders in Ireland firmly in the spotlight.
Many in Ireland would support the introduction of what is known in the U.S. as Meghan’s Law.
In 1994, seven-year-old Megan Kanka was raped and murdered in New Jersey by a sex offender who lived locally.
Megan’s law is where local law enforcement releases the names and addresses of registered sex offenders who live in the community. How much information is released varies from state to state.
With the release of Murphy, who is also the prime suspect in at least six other cases of women who have gone missing and never been found, there is support for the introduction of a similar type of legislation in Ireland.
"Sex offenders aren’t stupid – they are much less likely to offend next door and more likely to go to next parish where they don’t know anybody," said Kieran McGrath of the National Organization for the Treatment of Abusers (NOTA).
McGrath went on to add that that the law could be “used as a substitute for real supervision and real monitoring places responsibility on community to protect itself."
Though the law would undoubtedly educate the community on the relative safety of their locality, several instances of mistaken identity in Britain, where such laws exist, have resulted in the killing of completely innocent people who happened to have the same name as registered offender in the community.
The history behind “When Irish Eyes are Smiling”