Jason Lydiard and James White
A senior Donegal garda has said while there are restrictions on the movements of registered sex offenders “they too have rights and freedoms”.
The comments were made after questions were asked about Garda protocol in the event of those convicted of sex offences against children moving into an area.
Earlier this month convicted sex offenders James White and Jason Lydiard registered with gardaí in Letterkenny.
They had been the subject of a nationwide Garda alert before they registered in Donegal.
Social media reported various sighting around the country and there were various reported sightings in different parts of Donegal.
At the weekend the two men were taken in by police in Co Antrim after being attacked by a group of men and left covered in paint.
They were wanted by the PSNI for a range of offences, including breach of licence and warrants.
Meanwhile, Inspector Denis Joyce told the April meeting of the Donegal Joint Policing Committee today that gardaí were worried by the issues raised at the meeting.
“If a person is convicted of a sexual crime they have to go on a register and if they come to live in an area, they have to notify us,” he said.
“There are restrictions on people who are convicted of a sexual offence. There are only certain restrictions - and that is an important point to make - so they are restricted to certain areas. They are not fully restricted as such and they do have freedoms and rights as well.”
Inspector Joyce said gardaí will address the issue of Garda protocol fully at the next meeting of the committee in July.
Chair of the Donegal Joint Policing committee and Cathaoirleach of the county, Cllr Gerry McMonagle, said there had been “consternation and worry across the county”.
“We had two people who were convicted paedophiles who were roaming the county and none of the local neighbourhoods that they were in were informed. It created hysteria on social media.
“Why are paedophiles allowed to come and live in estates and the local residents are not informed? And it is causing a lot of annoyance out there.”
Community representative Joe Boland asked what was the Garda protocol around the issue.
“Should gardaí notify the residents or what is the protocol?”
“There was a lot of hysteria and misinformation going about on Facebook and social media. Someone one needs to do something to assure the community that they are active and they-they are aware of it.”