Written Answers. - Statute of Limitations.

Ivan Yates

Question:

858 Mr. Yates asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the plans, if any, he has to extend the Statute of Limitations period for all kinds of child abuse victims; if he has satisfied himself with the existing level of access to personal files which may still be held by his Department on such persons; and the plans, if any, he has to improve this access. [19285/00]

The Deputy will be aware that the issue of limitation periods in childhood sex abuse cases has already been addressed in the Statute of Limitations (Amendment) Act, 2000.

The Attorney General referred the question of the application of limitation periods in other forms of childhood abuse to the Law Reform Commission. The purpose of that referral is to have the benefit of the Law Reform Commission's independent and considered advice as to the way forward in this area of the law. On 27 September 2000 the commission published a consultation paper on the matter. This will provide interested parties with an opportunity to make submissions on the proposals set out in the paper which the commission will consider in preparing its final report and recommendations.

I have on numerous occasions in the Oireachtas given assurances that I will respond promptly and proactively to the recommendations of the Law Reform Commission on this issue when they become available.

Personal files on these cases are not held within my Department and access to any such files held in other Departments or State agencies is a matter for those bodies.