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Government adding insult to injury by not contacting victims' families

1 June, 2006


Sinn Féin Dáil leader and spokesperson on Children's Rights Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has accused the Government of adding insult to injury as it emerged that the state has yet to contact the family of the victim of the sex offender known as Mr. A, who was released from prison this week after the Supreme Court ruling on the 1935 legislation. Deputy Ó Caoláin said he was disgusted that the Government could find time to brief its own backbenchers on the legislation to deal with the Supreme Court ruling but could not find "the time or the decency" to contact the families of the victims of Misters A,B,C,D,E,F and G.

Speaking today Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "Yesterday I called on the Government to make contact with the family of the victim of Mr. A and all the families of the victims of the other sex offenders that may be released as a result of the Supreme Court ruling. They should not have to hear about this from the media. I was disgusted to learn this morning that they have not even found the time or the decency to contact the family of the victim of the first sex offender to be released, let alone of those who may follow.

"However, to add insult to injury, the Government did find the time to brief its own backbenchers on the emergency legislation that will be moved tomorrow to deal with the Supreme Court ruling on the 1935 legislation. This tells me that they are more concerned with the political fallout from this debacle than they are for the victims of these depraved sex offenders as they make their way back onto our streets."

Deputy Ó Caoláin went on to say that the Táinaiste Mary Harney's claims, that neither she nor the Minister for Justice Michael Michael McDowell knew about the Supreme Court challenge to the law, have "no credibility whatsoever."

Speaking in the Dáil today he said, "The Minister for Justice has told us he did not know about the constitutional challenge to the law. Yesterday the Tánaiste admitted that the Department of Justice was told of the challenge as far back as 2002. The Attorney General was represented in this case. He sits at the Cabinet table. The Tánaiste claims that neither she nor the Minister knew about the case. That has no credibility whatsoever.

"The Minister for Justice must come into the House today to explain his role and that of the Attorney General regarding this case. The Minister must subject himself to accountability before the house.

"The Tánaiste yesterday stated that there was no political will to change the law regarding statutory rape. But if the law officers of the State were aware that a successful constitutional challenge could result in the release of some people convicted of sexual offences against children then the Government had a duty to give political leadership. They had a duty to lead opinion and to change the law, or at the very least, prepare to change the law. They failed to do so." ENDS

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