The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (the Commission) was established by the Minister for Education & Science pursuant to the provisions of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Act on the 23rd of May 2000.
The Commission held its first Public Sitting on the 29th of June 2000. The purpose of that Public Sitting was to explain to the public and, in particular, to persons affected by its work, the Commission's understanding of the tasks it had been given in the Act and how it proposed to carry out those tasks. The Chairperson of the Commission delivered a statement at the Public Sitting to give effect to that purpose. At the end of the statement the Chairperson fixed the date of the second Public Sitting for the 20th of July 2000 and indicated that the purpose of the Second Public sitting would be to deal with submissions in relation to matters dealt with in the statement.
Prior to the second Public Sitting, the Commission had received submissions in relation to matters arising out of the statement delivered at the first Public Sitting from individuals, groups and legal representatives of individuals and bodies affected by the work of the Commission. At the second Public Sitting those submissions were dealt with or, alternatively, it was indicated how they would be dealt with. In the case of issues raised by solicitors who represented that they were acting on behalf of the interests of many survivors of child abuse, the issues were adjourned for further consideration at a third Public Sitting, the date of which was to be announced by public advertisement.
The third public sitting was held on the 26th of September 2000 to deal with the matters which had been left outstanding at the second Public Sitting and report on progress. The three public sittings are summarised in the table below.
Hearings of the Committees of the Commission at which evidence relating to particular incidences of alleged abuse is given are held in private.
The Vaccine Trials Inquiry held its first public sitting on 23rd January 2002, to explain its role in inquiring into vaccine trials and to take applications for legal representation.