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Latest case highlights absolute need for All Ireland Sex Register to be implemented by both Governments

20 October, 2006

Sinn Féin National Chairperson Mary Lou McDonald MEP has this morning demanded progress on Sinn Féin's long standing call for the introduction of an All Ireland sex offenders register after a convicted paedophile in the north turned up in the 26 counties.

Ms McDonald stressed that Sinn Féin had been to the forefront in demanding an All Ireland register and that this case was further proof of the need to protect all of our children.

Speaking this morning Ms McDonald said:

"Sinn Féin has been to the forefront in demanding the establishment of a single all-Ireland body to be responsible for holding standardised child protection information. Indeed, when my colleagues Bairbre de Brún and Martin McGuinness were Assembly Ministers they initiated a process that would allow for the setting up of an all-Ireland register to protect children, young people and vulnerable adults.

"There must be an all-Ireland approach to sex crime. That is why Sinn Féin has been pressing both governments for the last number of years to introduce an effective and integrated all-Ireland sex offenders register.

"The conviction of a paedophile in one jurisdiction on the island does not mean that they will automatically be included on a register in another. This is very worrying given that an offender could take advantage of this loophole. We have a situation in Ireland where convicted people can move from one jurisdiction to another and legally seek work with children.

"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 power. There may be a need for more powers and we would wish to see any proposals for legislative change to harmonise powers north and south.

"Our priority in all of this must be the absolute protection of our children and young people." ENDS

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