Written Answers. - Visitation Rights.

Batt O'Keeffe

Ceist:

462 Mr. B. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Justice the concerns, if any, she has regarding the fact that visitation rights to separated parents can lead to continuing abuse in line with a survey carried out in the United Kingdom. [16158/96]

Under the existing legislation where visitation rights are granted by a court, the presiding judge would take into consideration all of the factors of the case and reach a decision by reference to the conclusions he or she has come to after hearing the evidence presented in the case and assessing the circumstances of the parties involved. The Deputy will appreciate that the courts are, subject only to the Constitution and the law, independent in the exercise of their judicial functions and it is not open to me to comment or intervene in any way.

The responsibility for legislation governing visiting rights comes within the remit of the Minister for Equality and Law Reform and any concerns about that legislation should be addressed to that Minister.