The abuse happened at institutions run by religious orders
Irish President Mary McAleese has said she believes people should face prosecutions as a result of the Ryan Report into clerical child abuse.
In an interview with RTÉ News, Mrs McAleese said the report showed a "catalogue of criminal offences".
Prosecution, she added, might not bring closure, but it would bring justice.
Mrs McAleese is in Boston on the final leg of an official visit to the US state of Massachusetts.
She has been in the area meeting Irish communities and promoting Irish industry and tourism.
On Wednesday, a group of survivors of child abuse in the Republic called on 18 religious congregations to give the Garda the names of members who violated children.
Survivors of Child Abuse (SOCA) Ireland has said it also wants any files on abusers handed over.
Earlier, Taoiseach Brian Cowen said any additional voluntary contribution to compensation for victims from the orders must be substantial.
Eleven of the 18 congregations named in the Ryan Report on Child Abuse have now accepted Mr Cowen's talks invitation.
The Ryan Report documented decades of abuse in institutions run by religious orders over six decades.