The Minister for Justice, Brian Lenihan, has said he is open in principle to clearing the criminal records of those convicted of minor offences after seven years.

A report by the Law Reform Commission to be published this evening is proposing that people with minor offences who serve a term of less than six months should have that conviction removed from the record after seven years.

This would be known as a spent conviction.

Serious convictions such as murder or rape would remain permanently on a person's record, and anyone who has multiple convictions would also not qualify.

Speaking in Ballymun in Dublin this afternoon, Mr Lenihan said his department would be looking closely at the proposals.

The commission's 'Report on Spent Convictions', which is due to be published later today, also says old convictions should still stand for vetting purposes.

It says that those who come before the courts, apply to have access to children, or want to work in areas such as teaching, health care or the legal sector should be vetted fully for any previous convictions.

Under the current law, any criminal conviction stays with a person for life and must be declared when applying for jobs or insurance policies.

Meanwhile, the Minister has announced €2.75million in grants under the community based closed circuit televisoin scheme.

16 local groups in 12 areas around the country will now receive capital grants towards the installation and operation of CCTV cameras.

The areas being funded are Ballymun, Dublin north west inner city, Drogheda, Dundalk, Ennis, Kilkenny, Kileely/Thomond Gate in Limerick city, Longford town, Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim, Mullaghmatt, Co Monaghan, Thurles, and Tralee.