Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said any surviving members of the Spiritan order who allegedly abused pupils at Blackrock College in Dublin should be investigated by An Garda Síochána.
Mr Martin said he believed the first resource that should be deployed by the State is a thorough investigation of allegations of sexual abuse by members of the Spiritans after a radio documentary featuring brothers, Mark and David Ryan, released a torrent of stories of abuse at Blackrock College.
The two brothers both spoke of being sexually abused by priests at the college. After the Documentary on One: Blackrock Boys was broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 on November 6th, more students abused at Blackrock College and other schools run by the Spiritans have come forward.
At least 233 men have made allegations of abuse against 77 Irish priests from the Spiritans, some of whom were serial abusers left with unchecked access to children in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, resulting in a trail of shattered lives, scarred by depression, addiction and in some cases, suicide.
Asked about the allegations and whether there should be a Commission of Investigation similar to the Murphy Report into clerical abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese or the Ryan Report into child abuse in industrial schools, Mr Martin said the primary focus should be on a criminal investigation.
“In the first instance, I think it’s very important that the existing mechanisms are used, particularly the criminal justice system and people should be investigated, (so) the gardaí should investigate the situations of abuse,” he said.
“I think what we’ve learned is sickening, it’s shocking in terms of the scale of the abuse and the terrible trauma for people who went into schools and in some instances, these were schools that weren’t in the educational scheme, but that doesn’t take from the enormity of what happened.”