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Government should abandon holiday plans to fast-track legislation to close sex offenders loophole

30 May, 2006

Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has called on the Government to abandon plans to adjourn the Dáil next week so that legislation can be pushed through to deal with the loophole in the law that has allowed sex offender to walk free from prison this afternoon.

Speaking today Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "As a result of last week's Supreme Court ruling, that parts of the law in relation to statutory rape are unconstitutional, a 41 -- year old sex offender, who pleaded guilty to having sex with a 12 -- year old girl, and admitted he know her real age, has just been set free with permission to sue the state.

"The Government is expected to fast-track legislation to close this loophole yet the Dáil will not be sitting next week as it takes a week long holiday over the June bank holiday. I am calling on the Government to abandon plans to adjourn the Dáil next week so that Justice Minister Michael McDowell can bring forward emergency legislation to close this loophole.

"There are obviously many issues to be thrashed out with regard to the age of consent and the implications of teenagers consenting to and embarking on sexual relationships but we must have this debate at the earliest possible opportunity so we can prevent anymore obvious sexual predators being released back into our communities." ENDS

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