The new Minister for Justice Brian Lenihan has told RTÉ that in the new Programme for Government, the rights of victims in the criminal justice system have been put centre stage.

He said it was the Government's plan not just to introduce a charter for victims but a full, dedicated agency to see how victims can be protected throughout the criminal justice system.

He said they were also determined to look at legal changes to ensure that perpetrators of crimes recompense the victims of crime.

Mr Lenihan said this would mean people who suffered in criminal incidents obtained some measure of compensation for what they had endured.

The Minister said the prison-building programme including the building of Thornton Hall in north Dublin would continue.

He added that the promised children's referendum was in the programme and the Government would have to assess a team of ministers to ensure that this referendum takes place.