The One in Four organisation which supports victims of sexual abuse has criticised a statement by the Christian Brothers on the issue of abuse.

In its statement, the Christian Brothers said they did not accept what they described as the now established perception that there was widespread systematic abuse in their residential institutions.

The order said it has openly acknowledged that some abuse did take place.

It went on to say that the vast majority of its members against whom complaints had been made strongly reject the allegations.

The Brothers said that over 95% of these men worked in ordinary day schools for anything up to 40 years without any allegation or hint of complaint against them.

It issued its statement at the request of an organisation set up by people who were raised in institutions run by the order.

Let Our Voices Emerge (LOVE) says members of their organisation who spent time in homes including Golden Bridge and St Joseph's Industrial School in Kilkenny deny that the abuse was as widespread as has been alleged.

They say conditions in the homes were much better than was publicly portrayed.

However, One in Four said the Brothers have caused further hurt to people who were abused in such institutions.

The group said the Brothers' statement represented a highly backward step.

And Christine Buckley, co-ordinator of the Aislinn Centre, said it was sad the Christian Brothers were persistently failing to address the pain caused to victims in their institutions.