Denis Naughten has drafted the new bill
A new bill which would give appropriate information to parents regarding a paedophile living in their community has been published by Deputy Denis Naughten.
The proposed piece of legislation "Child Sex Offenders (Information and Monitoring Bill) 2012" would allow the Gardaí to disclose information of sex offenders to the parents of children and vulnerable adults if they believe that child is at risk.
In explaining why he drafted the Child Sex Offenders (Information and Monitoring) Bill 2012, Denis Naughten said: "Garda intelligence has a meaningful role to play in protecting our children, but at present a large body of such intelligence and other important information concerning individuals sits passively on the Garda information systems. It is my hope that through the measures contained in the Bill we can put that information to work in the interests of child protection."
The bill proposes the establishment of system which would enable parents to enquire whether persons coming into contact with their child or vulnerable adult have been convicted of a sexual offence or otherwise pose a serious danger. It provides for a similar entitlement for persons in authority in schools and clubs.
The system is modelled on Sarah's Law which operates in the UK through the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme. Sarah's Law is so named after eight-year-old Sarah Payne who was abducted and murdered in the UK in 2000 by a sex offender.
However, according to Denis Naughten there are key differences between the two schemes: "Sarah's law allows a member of the public to ask the police for disclosure about people who have unsupervised access to children. This Bill, while taking a similar approach to Sarah's Law, restricts the right to make requests for disclosure to parents and guardians of a child or vulnerable adult who can show reason for the request for disclosure."
Deputy Naugthen said he intends to proposed the bill - during private members' time for debating bills, in the next Dáil session.
There are five stages to the passing of legislation through the Oireachtas. The most significant, second stage, involves debating the general principles of the bill in the Houses, with the Government indicating its support or otherwise for the bill.
Deputy Naughten said he would be quite happy if the Government superseded his bill with its own long-promised legislation.
"I'm quite happy to see that happen if they are prepared to do that. It's promised since 2009 and has been endorsed by the current government. If not I intend to hopefully move it in the next Dáil session," he confirmed.