Organisations representing children and victims of abuse have said they are quietly confident that a referendum on the rights of the child could be achieved following a meeting with the Minister for Children Barry Andrews.

During discussions about the Government’s response to the findings of the Ryan Report, the group pressed the Government to introduce statutory guidelines on child protection and to hold a referendum on the rights of the child at the same time as the referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

However speaking after the meeting, Minister Andrews said that holding a referendum at the same time may not be beneficial.

The Minister also said the Government would not stand in the way of prosecutions being facilitated as a result of the Ryan report.

He also said he would look at representations from the groups for more funding for counselling services because of the surge in demand for these services in recent weeks.

The Minister also said he would be meeting with victims groups later this week.

Meanwhile, the 18 Catholic religious congregations criticised by the Child Abuse Commission have said they are determined to meet with generosity and ongoing commitment the challenges they are facing.

In a statement issued after they met in Dublin, they said that details of what was required would be discussed at meetings with the Taoiseach and his representatives.

They said they were ashamed that children in their care were abused and not listened to and that many of them had failed children in different ways.

Reiterating their deep apologies to those who were abused and asking for their forgiveness, they said they are and will continue to examine the report's challenge to their deficiencies.