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Sinn Fein meets NIO Minister about sex offenders policy

4 July, 2006

A Sinn Féin delegation today met with David Hanson, NIO minister for Criminal Justice to discuss the party's concerns about recurrent failings in the criminal justice system in the six counties in relation to sex crime and sex offenders, and to press for an all-Ireland approach to this problem. The delegation included Sinn Fein MLAs Gerry Kelly and Pat O'Rawe.

Mr Kelly said:

" There is a crisis of public confidence in the criminal justice system's approach to the sentencing and punishment of sex crime, the treatment of offenders, and showing the necessary compassion and support for victims of sex crime and their families."

"There is already a battery of legislation to combat sex crime. However, there is a serious question about the effectiveness of the present system and the proper application of existing powers. There may be a need for more powers and we would wish to see any proposals for legislative change harmonise powers north and south."

"We believe that there has to be an all-Ireland approach to sex crime. That is why Sinn Fein has been pressing both governments for the last number of years, to introduce an effective and integrated all-Ireland sex offenders register. That is the agenda which Sinn Fein will be pressing in the consultation on sex crime and sex offenders which David Hanson told us today he will publish very soon." ENDS

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