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Home > 434. Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will provide a list of the considerable number of countries in the EU that have drug offender registers, to which he referred in the 11 May 2006 session of the Joint Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights. [19374/06]

[Oireachtas] 434. Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will provide a list of the considerable number of countries in the EU that have drug offender registers, to which he referred in the 11 May 2006 session of the Joint Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights. [19374/06]. (23 May 2006)

External website: http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/2006/05/23/00288...


Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. McDowell): I made the statement to which the Deputy refers in relation to the operation of the Sex Offenders Act 2001, Part 2 of which sets out notification requirements for persons convicted of certain offences. This discussion arose on 11 May 2006 in the context of the consideration by the Select Committee for Justice, Equality, Defence and Women’s Rights of my amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill 2004 aimed at introducing similar notification arrangements for persons convicted of certain drug trafficking offences. I am aware that the United Kingdom provides in its laws for the courts to impose travel restriction orders on persons convicted and sentenced to a term of imprisonment for drug trafficking offences. Such orders begin with the offender’s release from custody and continue for a period of at least two years. Rather than going down this route I have opted for an approach similar to that in the 2001 Act. In relation to the situation in other EU Countries many of them have a different approach to Ireland in relation to dealing with drug offenders and other criminals. As the Deputy will be aware in many continental EU Member States it is obligatory to register one’s residence with the State or the municipal authority and to carry an identity card on your person at all times. The system in Ireland is very different and our citizens are not obliged to carry an identity card or to inform any external body of their normal residence. It is therefore necessary, in my opinion, to introduce in Ireland a system of notification arrangements for persons convicted of certain drug trafficking offences. My proposals place an obligation on a person who has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of more than one year for drug trafficking offences to notify his/her name (s) and current home address to the Garda Síochána within 7 days of the conviction for the offence concerned where the sentence of imprisonment is suspended or, where the offender is remanded in custody, from the date of full release from prison. Thereafter, the offender must notify the Gardaí of any change of name or address within 7 days of that change. Notification of any address where the offender spends either as much as 7 days or two or more periods amounting to 7 days in any 12 month period must also be given to the Gardaí. If the offender intends to leave the State for a period of 7 days or more he/she must inform the Gardaí of this fact and the address at which he/she intends to stay and also notify the Gardaí of his/her return. The notification periods run from one year to twelve years, depending on the length of sentence imposed. My proposals extend these obligations to any drug trafficking offenders entering this jurisdiction from abroad subject to certain conditions. I believe this approach will be of value to An Garda Síochána in keeping track of such persons and thereby provide valuable assistance and intelligence in the fight against drug crime.

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