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Sinn Féin approve electronic tagging of sex offenders

Wednesday, 20th June, 2018 4:54pm

Sinn Féin has signalled its approval for electronic tagging of sexual offenders released from prison. This comes after a bill allowing such tagging was passed by Ministers at a Cabinet meeting.

At the party’s annual Ard Fheis held in Belfast last week, members passed two motions related to the sentencing and monitoring of convicted sex offenders.

One advocated sentencing guidelines to address 'considerable inconsistency' in determining punishments for serious crimes, particularly sexual offences. The second called for increased measures to prevent reoffending, including the use of electronic tags for surveillance of released offenders, in line with the Council of Europe Recommendations on Electronic Monitoring.

The motion in support of electronic tagging came one week after a draft of the Sex Offenders (Amendment) Bill was approved by Ministers at a Cabinet meeting.

This Bill, a collaboration between Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and Minister for Communications Denis Naughten, allows for released offenders deemed to pose a high risk of reoffending to be compelled to wear electronic tags for monitoring purposes.

The Bill will next go to the Oireachtas Committee for consideration.

“Sinn Féin have made this matter a priority and we have secured a commitment from the Minister for Justice to introduce an amendment regarding sentencing guidelines in the Judicial Council Bill,” said Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson and Cork South Central TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire.

“Sinn Féin will consider favourably any and all proposals to prevent re-offending, particularly of sexual offences,” he said.

“Any new measures must be evidence-based. Electronic tagging in this context is only effective if properly resourced, and without adequate monitoring it becomes redundant.”

He added that there have been failures in monitoring persons on bail and that this issue must also be resolved.

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