Tusla is to be asked to appear before the Oireachtas Committee on Children to answer questions about the abuse scandal at St John Ambulance.

The chairperson of the committee, Sinn Féin TD Kathleen Funchion, told RTÉ's This Week programme the committee will explore whether the agency needs to be given new powers to ensure child safeguarding procedures are implemented.

A damning report by child protection expert Dr Geoffry Shannon found St John Ambulance failed to act on concerns raised about a former senior figure in the organisation who is accused of abusing more than 15 boys between the late 1960s and the 1990s.

St John Ambulance has apologised for the failings, and said it would leave no stone unturned in bringing in all of the reforms and recommendations made by Dr Shannon.

Tusla - the State agency responsible for child protection - sent a letter to the Government in 2019 in which it said there were "no current concerns" regarding child protection at St John Ambulance.

The letter referred to a child safeguarding statement, signed off on by the agency at the time.

It has since pointed out that it was not in a position to ensure that St John Ambulance followed the procedures outlined in the safeguarding statement.

"Neither Tusla, nor any other State agency - has the power to audit or review the implementation of child protection policies and procedures in relation to the Child Safeguarding Statement" it said in response to questions raised by RTÉ Investigates.

Ms Funchion said the committee would speak with survivors to get their views on who should provide oversight to ensure the recommendations in Dr Shannnon’s report are implemented in full.

"I do think…we do need to look at how we widen the powers of Tusla…so that they can audit organisations' safeguarding procedures and ensure that children are being protected in those situations."

She said the fact that a safeguarding statement can be signed off without being followed up raises "very serious questions."

"I have concerns, and we hope as a childrens’ committee, to have that discussion with Tusla," she said.

"We can’t have a situation going forward where procedures are signed off on, but there isn’t any role or power for someone to follow up, or audit those procedures."

Tusla said the agency is reviewing the report "and will follow up with St John Ambulance if any current or retrospective child protection issues are identified in the report."

Ms Funchion said she believes the board of St John Ambulance needs to step down and be replaced by a new board tasked with implementing the reforms.

"I personally wouldn’t have confidence [in the board] and I think we need to have a new board coming in to implement the recommendations."