Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, T.D., and Minister of State Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran T.D. announce Government approval for publication of the General Scheme of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) (Amendment) Bill 2018


The Minister for Justice and Equality, Mr Charlie Flanagan, T.D. and Minister of State for Office of Public Works and Flood Relief Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, have today (Tuesday) announced that the Government has approved the drafting and publication of the General Scheme of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) (Amendment) Bill 2018.


The new Bill will extend and strengthen existing criminal law on sexual offences through the introduction of presumptive minimum sentences for repeat sexual offenders.


Welcoming the decision to approve the drafting of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) (Amendment) Bill, Minister Flanagan said:


“I am very pleased to be able to introduce this Scheme which will ensure that a minimum sentence is in place for repeat sex offenders. Minimum sentences are intended to reflect the impact on society of serious crimes. Many convicted sex offenders are effectively managed on their release from prison by the Probation Service and An Garda Síochána and do not commit further offences, but some do go on to offend again and this should be reflected in legislation. I would like to thank Minister of State Moran for his work in this area, which helped bring this bill to this point. ”


The provisions broadly reflect the proposals contained in a Private Members Bill introduced by Minister of State Kevin 'Boxer' Moran last year, which were taken forward by the Government. 


Minister of State Moran added:


“I welcome the introduction of this Scheme by my colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality. I believe these proposals will address my very serious concerns around repeat sexual offenders which led to the publication of my Private Member’s Bill last year. That’s why I got involved in this, and I am satisfied at seeing legislation developed in this important area”






General Scheme to the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) (Amendment) Bill 2018

The main purposes of the General Scheme to the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) (Amendment) Bill are to:



The revised penalties for repeat sexual offenders are based on proposals brought forward by Minister of State Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran last year which were contained in the Criminal Justice (Commission of Sexual Offences) (Amendment) Bill 2017.


The General Scheme provides that where an offender is convicted of a sexual offence listed in a new Schedule to the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 and is sentenced to imprisonment for a period of at least 5 years and is subsequently – within a period of 10 years – convicted of a further offence listed in the new Schedule, the court shall, when imposing sentence for that offence, specify the minimum term of imprisonment to be served by the person.


The minimum period of imprisonment proposed is three quarters of the maximum term of imprisonment prescribed by law in respect of such an offence and, where the maximum term is life imprisonment, the minimum proposed is a term of not less than 10 years imprisonment. However, the court will have discretion not to apply the minimum sentence if it is satisfied that this would be disproportionate in all the circumstances of the case.


The General Scheme also contains amendments to the Punishment of Incest Act 1908 in order to equalise the penalty for incest at 10 years imprisonment for offences by both males and females.