Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has said that he will bring proposals to cabinet by the end of this month to commence a second major study on Sexual Abuse and Violence in Ireland.

Speaking at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis in Dublin this morning, the minister said that pending Cabinet approval, he hopes the study will begin next year.

He said it would take more than a year and a half as it would be very comprehensive. Mr Flanagan said it would cost €1 million.

He also expressed concern about recent reports about a court case, where remarks were made in a rape trial about the 17-year-old complainant's underwear.

The man who was accused of rape in the case was found not guilty by the jury. 

Asked if a report was necessary following what happened, Minister Flanagan said: "Clothes don't rape women, rapists rape women. I think it is important that the criminal justice system responds in a way that ensures that complaints of sexual assault and sexual violence are followed through on."

Mr Flanagan noted that Tom O'Malley is chairing a working group that is reviewing the investigation and prosecution of sexual offences.

Hot school meals pilot programme

Meanwhile, Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty has said €1 million in funding will be provided for a hot school meals pilot programme to begin in the 2019/2020 academic year.

Speaking at the party ard fheis, Ms Doherty said: "Research shows us the value of the provision of adequate and nutritious meals for a child's health, learning, attention and educational achievement. That is why I am providing funds to establish a pilot programme for a hot meals scheme in DEIS primary schools. 

"Hot dinners will be provided on a pilot basis in up to some 7,200 children. If successful, I would hope to work with the Department of Education and Skills (DES) in extending the scheme on a much wider basis in future years and establish the scheme on a permanent basis."

Officials from her Department are finalising details of the pilot and to identify suitable DEIS primary schools for the pilot. 

The time-frame and duration of the pilot is still to be finalised.