An 82-year-old former garda and scout master, who abused four young boys in the 1960s, has been sent to jail for six months.

John Joseph Dunne, also known as Jack Dunne, of Canon Breen Park, Thomondgate, Limerick, admitted abusing the boys on dates between 1963 and 1969.

He was a Garda Juvenile Liaison Officer attached to Pearse Street Garda Station and was also a scout master in the locality at the time.

Some of the boys, who were aged between nine and 14 at the time, were abused in an upstairs dormitory of the garda station where Dunne had living quarters.

The boys were also abused during scout camps in Dublin and Waterford, and in the accused man's car in the Phoenix Park. Two of the victims were polio sufferers.

The abuse came to light following publication of the Ryan Report in 2009, when one of the victims contacted gardaí.

An investigation was launched and three other victims came forward.

They had all suffered a severe trauma as a result of the abuse.

The accused man subsequently left the gardaí in 1972 "under a cloud" when an accusation of indecency was made against him.

He joined a religious order in the US, where he also sought psychological therapy for his sexual deviancy.

Sentencing him today at Limerick Circuit Court, Judge Carroll Moran said the breach of trust in this case was much more serious because the accused man was a garda, who persistently abused the victims over a considerable length of time.

He imposed a two-year sentence, suspending the final 18 months.

Judge Moran said while he took into account the age of the accused man and the fact he had no previous convictions, he said Dunne will have to serve six months to reflect the awful things he did.