There has been a significant increase in the number of allegations of physical, emotional and sexual abuse of children reported to the Catholic Church child protection watchdog.
According to the third annual report of the National Board for Safeguarding Children, 272 new allegations were made between the 1 April 2010 and 31 March 2011.
The vast majority of these cases are historical.
A breakdown of the 272 allegations show that 86 were made against deceased clerics or religious; 174 involved those who are out of ministry, retired, or who have left the State and 12 allegations involved those who are in ministry or were returned to ministry as an assessment of the allegations did not warrant another course according to the report.
The board was set up in 2006 and aims, through the development of policies and procedures, to guide all 186 constituent members of the Catholic Church in Ireland towards best practice in safeguarding children.
It also monitors that practice through regular audits and reviews.
197 allegations were made to the Board in 2009.