Ireland's 'Justice' Minister Frances Fitzgerald says she will not decriminalise brothel-keeping as part of new
prostitution laws as she fears criminals would 'exploit a legal loophole', which is obviously more important to her than keeping the women safe.
A section of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015, which has still not been signed into law, criminalises the purchase of sex but decriminalises the person offering sexual services.
The minister was asked by Green Party TD Catherine Martin for her views on the way sex workers will be decriminalised while still retaining sanctions for a person working together with another for safety .
Fitzgerald confirmed it is a provision of the law that it is an offence to keep or manage a brothe and tried to explain why this is more important than women's safety:
While I understand that this provision can prevent persons offering sexual services from working together with others, I am particularly concerned that any decriminalisation of brothel-keeping would create a legal loophole ripe for exploitation by the
organised crime gangs involved in the trafficking and exploitation of women in prostitution.
Women would come under pressure to claim they were working independently when that is not the case and the Gardai would be limited in the actions they could take to close brothels and disrupt the activities of criminal gangs. For this reason I have no
plans to amend provisions relating to brothel- keeping at this time.
Martin also asked Fitzgerald about the Government's decision to criminalise solicitation under the Public Order Act. The minister tried to explain that although women were supposedly being decriminalised for prostitution they would actually still be
subject to prosecution under public orders laws:
People who solicit the sexual services of others, that is the buyers and pimps, remain subject to prosecution for the solicitation and loitering offences under the 1993 Act. This did, however, give rise to concerns that the Gardai would be left
with no means of combating any public nuisance if sexual services were to be offered, for example, in a residential area. There was also concern the provision could be exploited by criminal gangs.
Failing to comply with [police] direction can give rise to an offence. Loitering for the purpose of offering sexual services has now been added to the behaviours covered by Section 8. The effect of the proposed amendments will be that on-street
prostitution will not be an offence, but the gardaĂ will still have the power to move persons offering sexual services on from a public place, when necessary.
Update: MP John Halligan argues for decriminalisation
4th August 2016. See article from laois-nationalist.ie
Independent Irish MP John Halligan says prostitution should be legalised. The Waterford TD says Garda funding and resources would be better spent on preventing human trafficking. Deputy Halligan says regulating prostitution would help to prevent the
exploitation of sex workers:
You're not going to stop prostitution, you're never going to stop it. Why could it not be regulated? The Government and the Gardai? should consider doing that,
We should be trying to find a solution that would take prostitution out of the hands of the pimps, and also, if we have money available, rather than taking up the GardaĂ?'s time trying to find the people who avail of prostitution we should be trying to
deal with the pimps and deal with the women that are being exploited and forced into prostitution.
Offsite Comment: Making prostitution legal simply means allowing adults to spend their time and money as they see fit
9th August 2016. See article from