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The head of Ireland’s government, Micheál Martin, on Saturday called for a full police investigation and prosecution into any surviving abusers from Blackrock College following allegations of sexual abuse by priests at the school. File Photo by Aidan Crawley/EPA-EFE

The head of Ireland’s government, Micheál Martin, on Saturday called for a full police investigation and prosecution into any surviving abusers from Blackrock College following allegations of sexual abuse by priests at the school. File Photo by Aidan Crawley/EPA-EFE

Nov. 12 (UPI) — The head of Ireland’s government on Saturday called for a full police investigation and prosecution into any surviving abusers from Blackrock College after allegations of sexual abuse by priests at the school.

Micheál Martin, the Taoiseach or head of the Irish government, called the allegations of abuse made earlier in the week “sickening.”

Martin, who has served in the role since 2020, called on the Garda Síochána, Ireland’s national police force, to fully investigate the claims.

The story came to light on Monday in a story by national broadcaster RTÉ Radio, telling of of brothers Mark and David Ryan, who between the ages of 12 and 17 “were both repeatedly sexually abused in Blackrock College in South County Dublin.”

The brothers said they were abused at the prestigious school by Tom O’Byrne and other priests, leading to charges against O’Byrne in 2007, before court proceedings were stopped because of his age. O’Byrne died in 2010.

Following the story, it emerged that 233 people have made allegations against 77 members of the Spiritans Catholic religious order. The order runs the college, which includes a primary school on its campus. The Spiritans were previously known as the Holy Ghost Order.

At least six abusers are known to have operated on the Blackrock campus.

Irish police are investigating the allegations and Martin said Saturday that any surviving members who allegedly abused pupils should be investigated and subjected to the full extent of the justice system.

The order also runs schools in Africa and there is evidence that those accused of abuse taught in Sierra Leone and Nigeria, The Guardian reported.

“As leader of the Congregation in Ireland, I want to acknowledge that abuse did take place in our schools,” Spiritans leader Father Martin Kelly said in a statement released by the school’s principal Alan MacGinty. “I apologize sincerely to those who have been grievously hurt and assure victims/survivors that our Congregation is doing all in its power to help those who have been injured and ensure that our schools are safe places for the present generation of pupils.”

“We are appalled by the recent revelations of abuse at Blackrock College in the 1970s and 1980s,” MacGinty added. “On behalf of the extended college community, I apologize for this.”