The Taoiseach has told the Dáil that the Government will have a plan by the end of July for implementing all the recommendations of the Ryan Commission Report on Child Abuse.

Brian Cowen was speaking at the start of a two-day Dáil debate on the report, which resumes tomorrow morning.

The Taoiseach opened the debate by saying the Ryan Report was one of the gravest ever published in the State.

He said that out of the shame and evil revealed in the report, we must make Ireland a model because of how we treat our children.

Mr Cowen identified two aims as a result of the report: to do as much as possible for the survivors of institutional abuse; and to ensure that such abuse never happens again.

The Government is to publish a plan for implementing the recommendations of the report by the end of next month.

Similar sentiments were expressed by other speakers.

In a strong speech which visibly moved survivors of abuse in the public gallery, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said Ireland cries silent tears for the victims of what he called torture, pure and simple.

Labour's Eamon Gilmore said we cannot give the survivors back their stolen childhood, but we can honour their bravery.

The debate will conclude without a vote.

There is all-party agreement on a motion which promises that in future, the State will cherish all the children of the nation equally.

Bishops ask for forgiveness

Ireland's Catholic Bishops have called the Ryan report 'the most recent disturbing indictment of a culture that was prevalent in their Church for far too long'.

Following their three-day summer meeting in Maynooth, they said: 'Heinous crimes were perpetrated against the most innocent and vulnerable, and vile acts with life-lasting effects were carried out under the guise of the mission of Jesus Christ'.

In a statement, the bishops branded the abuse described in the Ryan report as 'a serious betrayal of trust ... placed in the Church'.

Asking forgiveness, they confessed they were ashamed, humbled and repentant that their people strayed so far from their Christian ideals.

They said they bore a heavy sadness at the suffering of so many for so long.