Five volumes of findings running to 2,500 pages will be released this afternoon by the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, which is expected to severely criticise the cruelty of the regimes in place at 200 institutions chiefly between the 1930s and 1980s.
Almost 2,000 former residents of industrial schools, reformatories, orphanages, boarding schools and other institutions gave evidence to the commission, either through its investigation committee, which actively probed allegations against individuals and bodies, or its confidential committee, which collected the experiences of witnesses without pursuing their complaints.
Many of the children were detained in institutions for petty offences such as truancy or begging while others were orphans, abandoned or forcibly removed from their single mothers. They complained to the commission of illegal detentions; physical, emotional and educational neglect; and physical and sexual abuse.
Findings in relation to about 20 institutions which were actively investigated will be detailed in the reports, to be published online at 2.30pm today, while more general conclusions will be made about those referred to during the hearings of the confidential committee.
The commission is expected to find fault not only with the religious orders that ran the institutions, but the education and finance departments and other arms of government which failed to monitor, reform or adequately fund the institutions, or to take responsibility for the children in their care.
However, it is understood the commission is not recommending any criminal prosecutions.
Support group for former residents, Irish Survivors of Child Abuse, said victims would be badly let down by the reports.
“The victims of abuse will most likely be even more traumatised than ever to learn that following this lengthy inquiry, there will be no criminal prosecutions brought against their abusers or against those in the hierarchy of the Church and religious orders complicit in the brutal crimes against innocent children and it is unlikely that officials from any government department will ever be held accountable,” said spokesman John Kelly.