I propose to take Questions Nos. 200 and 201 together.
The Deputy will be aware of the package of measures announced by the Government to help people who were victims of abuse in childhood, including a commission to inquire into instances of abuse such as referred to by the Deputy in her questions. This commission, which is to be chaired by Ms Justice Mary Laffoy of the High Court, has wide terms of reference to inquire generally into the causes, nature and extent of abuse of children. The commission will be given whatever statutory powers and protections it will need to carry out those terms effectively.
The abuse suffered by the victims of the teacher concerned regrettably mirror the experience of many other people. I am satisfied that the commission, given its composition, wide remit and the fact that it will be provided with the statutory powers it needs, will be in the best position to carry out inquiries into this particular case, together with inquiries relating to other similar cases of abuse. It will be open to the victims in this case to approach the commission and the Taoiseach has given an assurance on behalf of all arms of Government that full and absolute cooperation will be given to the commission.
I am aware of a statement made by a member of my Department's inspectorate concerning this case. The statement was made on the 16th March, 1999 to the Secretary General of my Department. It was based on the inspector's recollection of events, as he did not have any notes or record of the matters to which it referred. In the statement the inspector recalled that a person had visited him at his home some years ago and informed him that he had been abused years previously while he was a child in primary school by the teacher concerned; that the teacher would soon retire with an unblemished record and that the victim had in the past written a letter of complaint to the Department and had written to or visited either the then Deputies Michael Keating or John Boland or both.