The Government has condemned in the strongest terms what it calls the repeated failure and gross dereliction of duties of people in positions of trust in the Diocese of Ferns. 

Minister of State Brian Lenihan, speaking on behalf of the Government, said everybody must learn from the mistakes of the past. He also said that the report would be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions. 

Following the publication of the report, the Taoiseach said the Government will move forward with a detailed consideration and implementation of its recommendations.

Bertie Ahern told the Fine Gael leader, Enda Kenny, that the report had been set up to inquire into how allegations of child abuse had been dealt with in the Ferns Diocese.

The Government agreed with these recommendations in principle, although the Taoiseach himself said he had not read all of the 271-page report.

He said some of the recommendations made would require legislation and the Government's responsibility was to implement the report's recommendations as speedily as possible.

The Taoiseach told the Labour leader, Pat Rabbitte, he would consider his suggestion of setting up an Oireachtas Committee to also inquire into the report's findings.

He said the Government was committed to carrying out a similar inquiry in the Dublin Diocese.

Enda Kenny said the report reveals a ‘shocking, horrific and scandalous level of abuse’. He said the Opposition would provide every assistance to the Dáil in trying to work for the protection of children from abuse in the future.

Meanwhile, the Ombudsman for Children has said serious issues about child protection were raised in today's report.

Emily Logan said that while it dealt with matters that took place between 1960s to 1980s, she had real concerns that as a society, we may not have yet learned sufficient lessons to ensure that our children were properly protected.

New crime creation

The Murphy Inquiry report has suggested the creation of a new crime to punish anyone who wantonly or recklessly risks injuring or sexually abusing a child or fails in his/her duty to protect the child. 

Citing a Massachusetts state law, it urges a full exploration by the Oireachtas of such a law's implications for teachers, childcare workers and professionals whose work brings them into contact with children.