The former chief executive of the Catholic church's child safeguarding body, Ian Elliott, has initiated personal injury proceedings against his former employer, RTÉ's This Week has learned.

Mr Elliott, who was CEO of the church's child safeguarding body for six years until 2013, made an application for stress-related injury against his former employer via the personal injuries assessment board (PIAB).

RTÉ understands that this application has now been released by the injuries board to proceed to the next stage, which is to lodge a formal legal action in the courts.

It is unclear whether or not the personal injury action is related to a high-profile disagreement between the former CEO and the NBSCCC, over an audit into the diocese of Down and Connor.

At the time when that controversy emerged in March 2014, it was reported that Mr Elliott believed that the final report into the diocese did not reflect his initial fieldwork.

The NBSCCC has rejected the criticism, and both sides remain at odds over their different positions on the audit.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Minister for Children James Reilly said the minister was "reassured" over governance structures at the NBSCCC.

He added that if such a dispute arose in the future then new procedures would arise whereby a former High Court judge would be tasked with examining such a difference of opinion.