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McDowell and his Department should have known

31 May, 2006

Sinn Féin Dáil leader and spokesperson on Children’s rights Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has called on the Government to contact the families of all the young victims of sex offenders that could possibly be released as a result of the Supreme Court judgement on the 1935 legislation.  Deputy Ó Caoláin said these families “should not have to hear about this from the media.”

Deputy Ó Caoláin said: “There is deep anger that a self-confessed sex offender would walk free from jail because of a failure on the part of the Oireachtas.  It is vital that legislation is introduced as quickly as possible.  There is no reason why such legislation cannot be brought forward in the coming days. 

“Minister McDowell should have known about this problem and should have prepared the appropriate legislation to deal with it. His claim that neither he nor his Department were aware of the constitutional challenge is incredible.                                                 

“The families of all those young victims of the sex offenders that could possibly be released because of this loophole should be contacted by the government. They should not have to hear about this from the media.

“More considered work is required in relation to the broader issues of the age of consent and child protection but that should not be used as an excuse for undue delay. In addition to legislation a raft of other measures to protect vulnerable young people are required.” ENDS

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