Bishop of Dromore warns of a “prostitution scourge” in Letterkenny if laws are not harmonised

Bishop-John-McAreavey

A senior bishop has warned that prostitution could become a scourge in border towns such as Letterkenny if laws on prostitution in the republic are not brought into line with those in the North.

Bishop John McAreavey says draft legislation here would address the problem, but he fears it may fall with the government in its final months.

He told the Irish Catholic it would be a terrific thing if both sides of the border had similar legislation governing prostitution and human trafficking.

He is now calling on the Irish Government to prioritise the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015. If that doesn't happen, he said, there is a risk that people who want to access prostitution could do it legally in the South but not in the North.

The bishop said the new bill mirrors the approach adopted in Northern Ireland and other jurisdictions.

Dr Mc Areavey said while there is a strong political will to get this Bill onto the statue books, there may be a temptation to drop it with the government coming to the end of its term.

Speaking to the Irish Catholic, Bishop Mc Areavery warned there is a “lack of public awareness” about the issue of human trafficking in Ireland.