Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 112 - Proposed legislation [Criminal records] [6934/11]

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 112 - Proposed legislation [Criminal records] [6934/11]. (06 Apr 2011)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/debate/dail/2...

112. Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality in view of the important role treatment and rehabilitation plays in tackling the drugs crisis, if he will bring forward legislation that will allow the expunging of criminal records for those who have been convicted of non-violent drug related crimes who have completed their course of treatment and rehabilitation. [6934/11]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): In developing the National Drug Strategy 2009-2016 a Steering Group was established to review the progress and impact made under the 2001-2008 Strategy and to make recommendations for the 2009-2016 Strategy. In its Report the Steering Group recognised that criminal convictions, acquired as a consequence of drug use, can in certain circumstances act as a significant barrier in terms of successful rehabilitation and reintegration. In this regard, the Steering Group recommended that consideration be given to developing a legislative framework whereby certain convictions could be considered spent after an appropriate period.


As the Deputy will be aware the Legislative Programme for this term, published this week, provides for a new Bill on Spent Convictions. The previous Bill lapsed in the normal way upon the dissolution of the last Dáil. Although I am unable at this early stage to give a detailed account of the new Bill’s content I can say that, like the earlier Bill, the new Bill will provide for the non-disclosure of most convictions where a sentence at the lower end of the scale was imposed. Disclosure will still be required in the case of certain posts and in respect of certain convictions. The new Bill will apply to adult offenders — the Children Act 2001 (section 258) already makes provision for child offenders — and it will apply retrospectively, to convictions that meet the criteria no matter when the conviction was recorded.


I realise Ireland is among the few EU Member States that does not have a formal system for dealing with minor offences and I accept we must address the issue. However, in doing so, I will be seeking to protect and maintain confidence in the criminal justice system while also providing an incentive to those wishing to make a fresh start.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011
Vol. 729 No 3.
Written Answers – Proposed Legislation

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