Justice Minster Michael McDowell has said that he is confident that today's Supreme Court ruling would mean that those offenders who had hoped they would benefit from an earlier decision would not now do so.

His comments came after the State's successful appeal against the High Court ruling which released the convicted sex offender Mr A.

A warrant was issued for the re-arrest of the 41-year-old man who had admitted to the statutory rape of a 12-year-old girl.

He is back in Arbour Hill Prison, where he will now continue serving his prison sentence.

He was transferred to Arbour Hill from Mountjoy Jail, after being re-arrested by gardaí following today's Supreme Court direction.

The Supreme Court decision comes as an enormous relief to the Government.

The man, known as Mr A, was released by the High Court on Tuesday after last week's Supreme Court decision struck down the law on statutory rape.

The decision will affect a number of other cases currently before the High Court, where offenders are seeking release from prison on similar grounds.

Mr A was the first sex offender to be released from prison following the ruling on the 1935 law.

That law made it an automatic offence to have sex with a girl under 15. But it was declared unconstitutional because it did not allow for a defence of a genuine mistake about a victim's age.

On Tuesday, the 41-year-old, who had admitted having sex with a 12-year-old after plying her with alcohol, was freed by the High Court.

In the High Court yesterday, where other cases await the outcome of the State's appeal, Mr Justice Quirke said questions of profound and considerable importance now had to be answered by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court decision is likely to have a binding effect on these and all other cases taken under the 71-year-old statutory rape law.