Gardaí and the HSE have launched an investigation into the conduct of a primary school principal in Co Cork.

The principal has been placed on administrative leave with full pay pending the outcome of the investigations.

The allegations being investigated involve verbal abuse of some pupils at the school and inappropriate punishments being handed out to them.

The HSE investigation is being carried out by the Child Protection and Welfare Social Work Department.

Social workers are understood to have met some of the parents and children involved.

The Board of Management at the school has also launched an investigation.

It is understood that the Board of Management has briefed the Department of Education and that the department is satisfied that the correct procedures are being followed.

A spokeswoman for Minister for Education Mary Hanafin said the department could not comment on individual cases.

The school cannot be identified for legal reasons.