Gardaí questioned 36 people at weekend on suspicion of purchasing sex

Individuals stopped and spoken to in six garda divisions both urban and rural

Gardaí questioned 36 individuals, all men, over the weekend on suspicion of purchasing sex, an act outlawed in 2017 legislation.

As part of Operation Quest, gardaí conducted a coordinated, intelligence led campaign on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The intelligence led operations was conducted across six garda divisions nationally, both urban and rural. These included the Dublin Metropolitan Region North, Dublin Metropolitan Region East, Dublin Metropolitan Region South Central, Wexford, Louth and Kildare.

"During the course of this intelligence led operation, 36 individuals where stopped and spoken to by members of An Garda Síochána, arising from suspicion of having purchased sexual services from an individual involved in prostitution," the garda said in a statement on Monday afternoon.


As a result a series of files have been prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

The Operation Quest team is run by the Garda National Protective Services Bureau, in liaison with local detective units.

“This operation reinforces An Garda Síochána’s commitment to target the demand for prostitution and to protect vulnerable persons, including victims of human trafficking involved in prostitution.”

The purchase of sex was made illegal following the introduction of the 2017 Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act.

The Garda has faced criticism over the low number of prosecutions initiated since the Act came into force just over two years ago. Since then just one person has been convicted of paying for sex; a 65 year old Meath man who was fined €200 in January. It is believed there are a handful of other prosecutions before the courts.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times