Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has backed victims of Waterford paedophile Bill Kenneally in calling for an independent inquiry into matters surrounding the former basketball coach.

Kenneally was sentenced earlier this year to 14 years in jail for abusing ten boys in Waterford in the 1980s.

His victims have written to Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald calling for a Commission of Inquiry.

Furthermore they are to take legal action against the State, gardaí and the Health Service Executive.

Kenneally had been interviewed by gardaí in 1987 but no victims gave statements at that time.

In December that year Kenneally was interviewed by then-superintendent Sean Cashman and Inspector PJ Hayes, where he admitted the abuse.

However, Supt Cashman said there was not sufficient evidence to charge him.

Kenneally was not questioned again until 2012 when a victim first made an official statement.

Speaking in Waterford today, Mr Martin said the level of abuse suffered by the boys was "horrific". 

He said he was concerned given that in 1987 Kenneally confessed to engaging in abuse of young people and nothing had happened after that.

Mr Martin said he understands that no victims came forward at that time but because of what was said in 1987, there should have been far more activity in following it up. 

He added that there could be questions asked of what the South Eastern Health Board knew, if anything.

Mr Martin said he would engage with Minister Fitzgerald but there needed to be further inquiries into the matter.

Former Waterford TD Brendan Kenneally was a cousin of the paedophile and said he knew nothing of the matter until 2002, when a relative of a victim came to him but the victim did not want to make a formal complaint.

Mr Martin said he had not spoken yet with the former Fianna Fáil TD about the subject.