Anger over housing of rapist in south Belfast
Published 09/09/2009 | 14:58
South Belfast politicians have expressed concern that convicted rapist Michael Quinn is being housed in a South Belfast hostel.
Quinn (21), formerly of Glasvey Drive in Twinbrook, was convicted in April 2007 of twice raping an English schoolgirl while she was visiting Belfast.
Although he was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to the attack, he was freed last week. He has refused to show remorse following his release.
Under the terms of his release, Quinn has been told he cannot return to west Belfast and is currently living in a south Belfast hostel.
He is a category three sex offender — the highest risk classification. However, the authorities have no way to check his movements and under current law he cannot be tagged.
Quinn attacked the schoolgirl at a BP garage forecourt in August 2005 while his cousin Terry McKenna, armed with an iron bar, held the victim’s three young male friends hostage.
South Belfast District Policing Partnership chair and Laganbank councillor Christopher Stalford said: “As far as I'm concerned it is entirely unacceptable for those in authority, both in the Probation Board and in the police, to use south Belfast as a dumping ground for sex offenders.
“These people need to be isolated and closely monitored, not housed within walking distance of primary schools, playgrounds, parks and youth clubs.
“This is merely the latest example in the long line of dangerous individuals being placed in our community.”
Fellow Laganbank councillor Pat McCarthy said: “This is nothing new. South Belfast is looked upon as a safe place to house sex offenders.”
Nick Carson, spokesman for Public Protection Arrangements, which speaks on behalf of the agencies which operate the public protection arrangements in Northern Ireland, said: “On behalf of the police, probation and other agencies which deliver public protection in Northern Ireland I refute absolutely any suggestion that south Belfast is being used as a ‘dumping ground for sex offenders.’ That is simply not true.
“Public protection is, and always will be, the top priority.
“There are sex offenders in all parts of the community and the focus of the agencies who deliver the public protection arrangements is to reduce the risk they pose.
“Unless the court places conditions on their accommodation, offenders can live where they choose.
“In south Belfast there is an abundance of private rented accommodation which means that housing is usually readily available for those who seek it.”