Taoiseach Brian Cowen said last night the report of the commission on child abuse is “one of the most important documents of our time”.
The Republic’s Attorney General is examining if documents relating to the inquiry can be retained or will have to be destroyed as evidence given was confidential.
Mr Cowen said he wanted a “strong response” from the religious orders to the government’s demand for further contributions for abuse victims.
In his most passionate comments to date on the devastating document, Mr Cowen said the country had been confronted with depravity, adding, “that shame will live with us all”.
“I am appalled by what I have read and horrified by what the victims have had to endure,” the Taoiseach said in a speech to a Fianna Fail rally at Loughrea, Co Galway.
“They say a week is a long time in politics, but for people in Ireland, this week was longer than most,” he said.
“It was a week where we saw the agony and the ecstasy of our country. We saw the highs we can achieve on the sporting field, or the ocean, when we work hard, are committed and focus on success.
“And we saw the lows of depravity that condemned so many of our children to misery, abuse and neglect.”
Health Minister Mary Harney yesterday said Mr Cowen would be taking a “robust” approach in his talks with religious congregations.
She made the comments as the Dail passed an all-party motion apologising to the victims of abuse and accepting all the recommendations of the Ryan report.
It also called on the religious congregations involved to make further contributions by way of reparation to the victims.
Ms Harney revealed she will ask the Attorney General to examine if documents relating to the inquiry can be retained. Labour deputy leader Joan Burton said their destruction would be an insult to the victims of abuse.