The Health Service Executive has said it is working with the families of alleged abuse victims at a Donegal care home to decide on the best way to publish a report into the claims.

HSE Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry said: ''We are working with the gardaí too and that is our position on this at the moment."

Dr Henry described the contents of the report as ''very distressing''.

The allegations, first reported in The Irish Times, are of sexual assault on a number of residents at St Joseph's Community Hospital in Stranorlar carried out by a former resident, who was given the pseudonym 'Brandon' in the report and who is now deceased.

''The findings are very upsetting for the families concerned but also for anyone who has relatives in the disability settings throughout the country,'' Dr Henry said.

The HSE said it has been working for some time on the findings of the report and recommendations to make services safe.

''We are working closely with HIQA in terms of safeguarding to make sure that this can never happen again,'' Dr Henry said.

He added that the report was commissioned by the HSE to precisely discover how this abuse could have gone on for so long in a setting with so many vulnerable adults.

The HSE said it welcomes any contact with the families involved.

''We want to work with families to make sure that this can never happen again and to give families assurance that vulnerable adults in these settings are safe and well cared for,'' Dr Henry said.