A momentous day in the ministerial life of Deputy Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran as the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences ) (Amendment ) Bill 2018, originally initiated by the Athlone politician, passed all stages in the Oireachtas last week.
The Bill introduces presumptive minimum sentences for repeat sex offenders. It also corrects an anomaly in the law of incest by equalising the penalty for incest where it is committed by a man or a woman.
Speaking following the landmark decision, Deputy Moran acknowledged the overwhelming support received from the time of the Bill’s proposal upon his election to Dáil Éireann.
“I want to thank you all for the warm welcome that the Bill has received in this House and I am deeply honoured that it is now passed all stages in the Oireachtas.
“As I mentioned on the last occasion, I was honoured to be elected as an Independent TD some three years ago to represent the people of Longford/Westmeath and to go into Government.
“Throughout my political life I have tried to make the lives of ordinary people a little bit better. It is a rather simple philosophy of mine but I think I have achieved a lot by sticking to that ideal,” Deputy Moran remarked.
The Independent politician noted that his sole aim as an elected representative was to help people in a positive manner and on a continual basis.
“The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences ) (Amendment ) Bill, 2018 is part of my efforts to help people, in this case, to send out a clear message from Government regarding repeat serial sex offenders who have refused all efforts to rehabilitate themselves.
While it is rare that an Independent TD can champion legislation through both Houses, I believe I may be the first, it is even rarer still to have such legislation pass through both Houses supported by all the main political parties.
“I would like to thank, in particular, the Minister of Justice Charlie Flanagan for his strong support throughout in relation to the passing of this Bill and for seeing the merits in what I have been trying to achieve.
“I believe I have shown to the people that Independents can, and do, make a difference in Government,” Deputy Moran emphatically concluded.
The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences ) Amendment Bill 2018 sets out presumptive minimum sentences for repeat sex offenders. These provisions will apply to those who have been convicted of a serious sexual offence, and received a sentence of at least five years. If those offenders go on to commit a further offence within ten years then a presumptive minimum sentence will apply.
The Bill also equalises the penalties for incest by both male and female offenders. Currently the sentence for incest by a male is life imprisonment and for a female it is a maximum sentence of seven years. The Bill is to equalise these penalties by lowering the sentence for a male to 10 years and increasing the sentence for a female to the same level.