Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has announced legislation that will allow for the electronic tagging of sex offenders in some circumstances.

She said the Sex Offenders (Amendment) Bill - expected to be published in the coming days - would strengthen the monitoring and management of these offenders.

The legislation introduces stricter notification requirements - meaning sex offenders will have to inform the gardaí of a change of address within three days instead of the current seven days.

It also explicitly provides for the courts to prohibit sex offenders working with children or vulnerable people.

The new law will allow for electronic monitoring as well as fingerprinting and photographing of the offender to confirm their identity.

This electronic monitoring is aimed at ensuring an offender complies with a sex offender order or post release supervision order.

Under the legislation, gardaí can disclose information relating to a person on the sex offender register in situations where there is a serious threat to public safety.

The Bill will give a legislative basis for the assessment of risk posed by sex offenders as set out by probation officers, gardaí and Tusla.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris welcomed the new measures, saying it was "a good method of managing the threat from sex offenders as they return to the community".

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Claire Byrne, Ms McEntee said there is already robust legislation to monitor and manage sex offenders living in the community and the Bill adds "as many layers and as much oversight as possible so that people feel safe in their communities".

She said where a sex offender is under probation or engaging with gardaí having previously served a sentence for the abuse of a child, gardaí can use their discretion to inform any new partners of that history.

"If there was a situation ... an issue with a child and that is the reason they were in prison, and are suddenly dating someone who has children, there could be an opportunity for the gardaí to inform that woman or man that this is potentially a threat to them or their family", she said.

Minister McEntee said that this would not happen in every situation and it is not planned to send a text alert which could "incite an entire community".

Mixed reaction to new bill

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties has described evidence about the benefits of electronic tagging as "fairly unconvincing".

Its Executive Director, Liam Herrick, said what was needed was "investment and resources" in The Probation Service and An Garda Síochána.

"The key to managing risk in the community is to use highly-skilled trained staff at The Probation Service and the guards to supervise the most high risk (sex) offenders," Mr Herrick said.

"Tagging only gives you information about location so we're not that convinced that it is that useful."

Mr Herrick said he wanted to see more details on the provision in the bill allowing for the sharing of information about an offenders' pervious convictions in limited circumstances.

"There may be certain specific circumstances where there is a threat to an individual where the guards might have a responsibility to share information."

"The real question is the detail, how do you define a specific threat, a specific risk?" Mr Herrick asked, "and what are the protections that that information wouldn't become more widely available?"

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre CEO Noeline Blackwell said that "overall" the bill which will update legislation in the area that is 20 years old was "welcome".

"The proposals in this new bill to reduce the time within which sex offenders need to notify any change of address and requiring them to furnish ID seem like basic requirements," Ms Blackwell said.

"Similarly, strengthening the legal basis to allow courts to ban convicted offenders from working with children and vulnerable adults, and to allow probation, garda and Tusla services to work together in a coordinated way, creates good management tools," she added.

However, Ms Blackwell said that "much depends on the resources provided for all these measures."

"Electronic monitoring will only work if there are sufficient resources available to make sure that the monitoring really happens."

She added that it was not a case of "just putting a tag on someone ... but if there is a breach, for instance someone going into a banned space, that there is someone available to follow that up."

Additional reporting: Laura Fletcher