The Executive Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties has said An Garda Síochána's failure to prosecute juvenile offenders was a "very serious failing" and is profoundly serious for victims of crime.

A garda report released yesterday found that 3,500 children got away with committing nearly 8,000 crimes, including serious crimes, over a seven-year period because garadaí did not do their jobs properly.

Speaking to RTÉ News, Liam Herrick said that there needed to be consequences for individual failings in recording serious crimes if public confidence in the force is to be restored.

He said that while IT deficiencies and administrative problems were highlighted yesterday by An Garda Síochána, individual culpability is also part of the problem.

Mr Herrick said that many of the young people involved in crimes could have been helped by intervention, but this did not happen.

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However, he said diversion programmes for young offenders in general were working well and led to positive outcomes.

The issue here, Mr Herrick said, is that those coming into contact with gardaí had a failure of an adequate response at all.

He said the lack of professionalism involved was a cultural issue.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris issued a public apology when he appeared before the Policing Authority yesterday afternoon.

He said the work of 3,400 gardaí was being examined by chief superintendents to see whether or not disciplinary measures were required, adding that most of the cases were concentrated in very busy divisions.

The figure represents over a quarter of the force.

Mr Herrick welcomed the "new tone" struck by An Garda Síochána in putting its hands up yesterday and acknowledging what had happened.