Irish Penal Reform Trust

Spent Convictions Act 2016 signed into law

12th February 2016

It has been a very long journey for IPRT - and for the tens of thousands of people affected - but the Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions and Certain Disclosures) Act 2016 was signed into law by President Higgins on 11th Feb 2016. You can read the actual wording of the legislation here.

[Note: the legislation will not come into operation until the Minister for Justice signs an order, anticipated April 2016.]

Overall, it is a mixed victory for IPRT. While we welcomed the passing of the legislation on 4th February 2016, we are disappointed that it did not go further – too many people will not benefit from the legislation. 

Although IPRT will continue to push for a better spent convictions scheme, review of the legislation in the short term is unlikely. Instead, we will be campaigning for an extension to the existing spent convictions scheme for under-18s to apply to offences committed up to age 21 or 24.

For questions about whether the legislation will apply to your convictions, or about specific circumstances (travel, citizenship, licensing, etc.) please contact the Department of Justice: +353 1 6028202 / Lo-Call: 1890 221 227

Activities by IPRT:

  • Regular email updates to people affected
  • Answering hundreds of telephone/email queries from people affected
  • Regular submissions to Government, including Briefings
  • Two all-party seminars in Leinster House
  • Direct emails to TDs and Senators in advance of Oireachtas debates
  • Direct advocacy with Minister for Justice
  • Direct advocacy with Department of Justice
  • Two public events, including guest speakers: Bobby Cummins OBE, Unlock UK;  Sen Jillian van Turnout; Data Protection Commissioner, Billy Hawkes; Esther Lynch, Head of Legal and Social Affairs, ICTU; Mary Cunningham, Director, NYCI; Chris Stacey, UNLOCK UK; and Erin Gavin, Linkage Programme.
  • A survey on the issues among people affected
  • Media work (radio interviews, opinion pieces)
  • Working in alliance on the issue and building capacity, with IASIO, Care After Prison, U-Casadh, Le Chéile, and other organisations.

TDs/Senators who showed particular support for our work in this area:

  • Senator Jillian van Turnout; Senator Ivana Bacik; Senator Fiach MacConghail; Senator David Cullinane; Senator Kathryn Reilly; Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh
  • Thomas Pringle TD; Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD; Maureen O'Sullivan TD; Niall Collins TD; Mick Wallace TD; Clare Daly TD; Tommy Broughan TD; Fergus O’Dowd TD; Olivia Mitchell TD; and David Stanton TD

Respect for rights in the penal system with prison as a last resort.



Contact us

  • Tel: 01 874 1400
  • More
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