The Cabinet has agreed for An Garda Síochána and the US Department of Homeland Security, US Immigration and Customs enforcement authorities to increase their joint efforts in combating child sexual exploitation.

Authorities on the two sides of the Atlantic are set to increase the exchange information on the international travel of convicted child sex offenders, following today's Cabinet meeting. 

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, secured approval on behalf of the Department of Justice to sign a letter of intent between the US authorities and Ireland.

Approval has now been given to allow An Garda Síochána facilitate more sharing of information about the international travel of convicted child sex offenders with the US authorities.

This exchange of information forms part of a US programme entitled 'Angel Watch', established by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement to aid the prevention of child sex tourism.

Operation Angel Watch targets individuals who have previously been convicted of sexual crimes against a child and who may pose a potential new threat by travelling overseas for the purpose of sexually abusing or exploiting minors.

The Letter of Intent approved by Cabinet today covers information exchange on travel from Ireland to the US and vice versa.

A system of collaboration between the two countries is already in place so today's decision bolsters what is already in place.

A spokeswoman for the Government said: "Today's decision "demonstrates our commitment to co-operation between the US and Ireland in the provision of relevant and timely information in both directions on the international travel of convicted child sex offenders."

The United State has made similar approaches to other EU member states and the UK and Slovakia have already signed such letters.