Paul Hunter Redpath, 37, had not been seen since leaving approved accommodation in south Belfast.
The Scotsman was detained by Gardai in the Wicklow area on Tuesday. He has now been returned to Northern Ireland and arrested in Belfast.
Redpath is considered a serious risk to vulnerable children.
Police did not say exactly how long he had been missing, but on Monday asked Redpath to give himself up.
Redpath, who is originally from Stranraer in Scotland, was at the centre of a similar operation in 2006 after breaching the conditions of his probation.
He was later re-arrested in Dublin.
Redpath, who is known to abuse alcohol, had been convicted of offences against two girls in 2005 and jailed for three years.
SDLP assembly member Carmel Hanna has called for Security Minister Paul Goggins to review the case.
“I will also be querying what action he will be taking at present and what lessons are to be learned for the future to prevent cases like this happening again,” she said.
Sinn Fein MLA Alex Maskey said the case raised serious concerns about the housing of sex offenders.
“While I would wholeheartedly welcome the fact that this man has been apprehended, this case poses serious questions about the PSNI’s ability to manage the large number of sex offenders who are being housed in the south Belfast area,” he said.