Northern Ireland’s Justice Minister has said he is not opposed to the principle of holding a cross-border inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse by members of the IRA.

However, speaking on RTÉ's News at One, David Ford said there are a number of inquiries under way in Northern Ireland.

Mr Ford said it was necessary to ensure that those inquiries ran their course before it was seen whether or not the quite complex difficulty of setting up a cross-border inquiry would be appropriate.

He said those inquiries were looking at the handling of allegations of abuse made by Máiría Cahill.

Mr Ford said he wanted to encourage anybody who was a victim of abuse to speak to the PSNI or to gardaí.

He said the first issue was about supporting victims and bringing, where possible, criminal prosecutions.

Mr Ford said there might be a role for wider inquiries, but there would almost certainly have to be legislation on both sides of the border, and that was not going to happen overnight.

Commenting on reports that a number of names of alleged abusers who were members of the IRA had been given to gardaí, Mr Ford said there were now a number of issues that need investigation, in both jurisdictions.

"There are a lot of different threads, and before there can be any over-arching inquiry we need to see that those are carried through by the responsible justice agencies North and South so that victims are supported and perpetrators are prosecuted where it is at all possible."

Elsewhere, Ms Cahill had a meeting tonight with Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald.