Northern Ireland

Child sex offenders 'not banned from working with kids'

James McDermott and Owen-Roe McDermott
Image caption The McDermott brothers were deemed mentally unfit to stand trial

Justice Committee chairman Paul Givan is to ask the justice minister why hundreds of child sex offenders were not banned from working with children.

The figure came to light in a review carried out by the Court Service following the McDermott brothers case.

The cases are now being reviewed by the judiciary to establish if a disqualification order should have been put in place.

Mr Givan said the matter must be dealt with urgently.

"Of the 480-odd cases, it's been found that 57% didn't receive a disqualification order," he said.

"(That is) despite there being a presumption that there would be one given and, where there wasn't one provided, that a reason would then be provided by the judge and that hasn't happened in over 250 cases.

"So I've already spoken with David Ford about that. He's coming to the committee on Thursday and this issue is going to be raised with him".

Between them, the four McDermott brothers, from Moorlough Road in Donagh, faced 60 charges of abuse spanning five decades.

The two brothers abused children in the Fermanagh village of Donagh over a 30-year period, but were judged mentally unfit to stand trial.

There was a great deal of anger in the village when the brothers then returned there to live.

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