Page last updated at 16:45 GMT, Monday, 25 May 2009 17:45 UK

Police examine sex abuse report

Commission's report
The commission's report on church abuse ran to five volumes

Police in the Irish Republic are examining if criminal charges can be brought over a damning report on child sex abuse at Catholic institutions.

Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern said he was working with the attorney general to see if prosecutions could be brought.

The gardai have also appointed a senior policeman to examine the report in a criminal justice context.

Cardinal Sean Brady is to discuss the report's findings with the Pope.

The leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland also said that the compensation deal agreed by the Irish government with the orders should be revisited.

It was initially thought the Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse's findings would not be used for criminal prosecutions - in part because the Christian Brothers successfully sued the commission in 2004 to keep the identities of all of its members, dead or alive, unnamed in the report.

No real names, whether of victims or perpetrators, appear in the final document.

Many victims reacted with anger that the commission's findings would not result in their abusers being jailed.

More than 2,000 people told the commission they had suffered physical and sexual abuse as children in the institutions.

It found that sexual abuse was "endemic" in boys' institutions, and church leaders knew what was going on.

The Irish deputy prime minister, Mary Coughlan, described the abuse of children in Catholic-run institutions as one of the "darkest chapters" in Irish history.

The report, nine years in the making and covering a period of six decades, also found government inspectors failed to stop beatings, rapes and humiliation.

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