Gardi Investigating allegations of sexual and physical abuse at a Co Cork boarding school have taken statements from nine men who allege they were abused there while in their early teens.
Gardaí in Cobh and Glanmire have set up a special team to investigate allegations of abuse at the Sacred Heart College in Carrignavar. To date they have been contacted by more than 20 former students who allege they were abused by a small number of staff clergy.
Nine of these men have made formal statements of complaint to the Garda that they were either sexually or physically abused or both while boarders in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, when they were aged between 12 and 15.
Gardaí plan to interview upwards of 50 other former pupils of the school. The investigation is expected to take several weeks to complete.
The nine complaints relate to four members of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart who were on the teaching staff at various stages between the 1970s and 1990s, but it is understood the majority relate to just two priests.
A Garda spokesman confirmed that the four people named by the complainants were no longer at the school and that gardaí were satisfied none of the four now had any involvement or contact with children or young people.
The HSE is also conducting its own inquiry into the school.
Meanwhile the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart have asked the Catholic Church's own child protection watchdog, the National Board for Safeguarding Children, to conduct a review of child protection procedures at the school.
The investigations were launched after Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly raised the issue of sexual and physical abuse at the school when he used Seanad privilege on July 27th to name a former priest at the school who had been the subject of Garda investigations.