Host: Pat Kenny
Interviewee: Denis Naughton
Show: The Pat Kenny Show
Time slot: 10AM – 12:30PM
Minister of Justice Alan Shatter is to introduce legislation to ensure that parents of young children can be made aware of sex offenders living in their areas.
Gardaí will now be permitted to release certain information about sex offenders who have completed their sentences.
In this radio segment, Pat Kenny and Reform Alliance TD Denis Naughton discuss the proposed law prior to its implementation.
Naughton firstly compares Megan’s Law in the US and Sarah’s Law in the UK and details what will be drawn from these legislative bills to form an Irish version for child protection.
Megan’s Law was introduced in the US in 2004 after seven-year-old Megan Kanka was raped and murdered by convicted sex offender, Jesse Timmendequas, who had been living on the same street as her in New Jersey.
The legislation requires police to make information about registered sex offenders public.
Details released usually include the convict’s photograph, address and the nature of the crime. The information is often passed around neighbourhoods through pamphlets or newspapers.
Similar legislation was called for in the UK following the brutal murder of seven-year old Sarah Payne in July 2000.
Sarah’s Law was implemented on a trial basis in four different areas of Wales and England in 2008 and was brought in fully in the spring of this year.
Naughten’s bill proposes to establish the Information on Child Sex Offenders Scheme which would enable parents or guardians to find out whether a person coming into contact with their child or vulnerable adult has been convicted of a sexual offence or poses a danger to them.
The legislation will not go as far as Megan’s Law, which has been criticised for leading to vigilante violence against the convicted sex offenders.
I think that Naughton’s concise detailing of his proposed bill successfully eliminates any queries about the release of confidential information, and emphasises that details about sex offenders will only be disclosed in exceptional circumstances.
I found this interview, in its totality, to be informative, thought-provoking and well-conducted. The topic is relevant to all people and is importantly being addressed in a respectful and intelligent fashion by both Pat Kenny and Naughton.