Irish Minister for Justice Alan Shatter plans to introduce new legislation soon that will inform parents of young children of all sex offenders living in their areas.
The minister’s new plan is to allow Irish police to release some information about sex offenders who have completed their sentences and who are living in the local community.
The new legislation would be subject to the government approval, but according to a report in The Journal this week the plan has been cautiously welcomed by the opposition party Fianna Fail and by the Irish Rape Crisis Centre.
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Modeled on Megan’s Law, which was introduced in the US in 2004 after seven-year-old Megan Kanka was raped and murdered by a convicted sex offender in New Jersey, the legislation requires police to make certain information about registered sex offenders public.
Among the details usually released are the convict’s photograph, address and the nature of the crime committed.
Shatter’s proposed new legislation will not go as far as Megan’s Law however, which has been criticized for leading to vigilante violence against the convicted sex offenders.
It's understood that the minister believes that publishing the addresses of sex offenders would be counter productive and could drive sex offenders underground, making them harder to track and more likely to re-offend.
'There was, however, support for the view that those with a legitimate interest should receive appropriate information and, if there was a danger to the public, the Gardai (Irish Police) should be able to make the identity of a sex offender known,” the Department told the Journal.