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Bacik on the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004

October 30, 2009 Leave a comment

The Irish Times also reports that the High Court will give its final ruling next week on exactly how much may be published of the report of the investigation into the handling by Catholic Church and State authorities of child sex abuse allegations against clerics in the Dublin archdiocese.  Padraig has blogged about the case here. Labour Senator and Reid Professor of Criminal Law, Criminology and Penology at Trinity College Dublin, Ivana Bacik has released a statement in which she calls for an an urgent debate on the operation of section 38 of the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004. Senator Bacik writes:

“The Minister has sought directions from the High Court under section 38 of the Act. The High Court has already ordered the deletion of one chapter of the report, and further directions are now being sought from the Court. I am very concerned about the lack of fairness in the procedures under section 38. The hearing is in private, with no media present. The only persons represented are the State authorities – in this case, themselves under investigation – and any defendants in relevant criminal proceedings, ie alleged abusers… Section 38 does not give any right to be heard, for example, to the survivors or victims of abuse, or the Commission itself. Yet the effect of the section could be to compromise the reports of commissions of investigation, by ensuring that they are neutered before they are published. There is a clear public interest in reviewing the operation of section 38, to ensure greater rights to representation and greater transparency in the process.”