The 2,575 page report into this affair found that the abuse was 'endemic' in Catholic Church instituations, rape, beatings, molestation and even flogging of children occurred over 50yrs.
Priests have been tried and convicted over this matter, but due to a successful lawsuit by the Christian Brothers in 2004, no member was named in the report, dead or alive.
I'll paste a few snippets from news sources to give you a sense of how this unfolded.
The Irish Catholic priest Brendan Smyth pleads guilty in Northern Ireland to 17 counts of indecently assaulting five girls and two boys in Belfast. His order, the Norbertines, spent decades shuttling Smyth among Irish and US parishes and harboured him from British arrest. The Irish prime minister, Albert Reynolds, resigns and his government collapses amid claims his attorney general colluded with church authorities to delay the British extradition demand for Smyth. The case shatters Irish taboo against pursuing criminal charges against priests.
Andrew Madden, a former Dublin altar boy, becomes the first Irish citizen to speak publicly about abuse by a Catholic priest. Madden says the Dublin archdiocese paid him €35,000 ([1 million dollars],000) to keep quiet about three years of assaults by the Rev Ivan Payne.
The Dublin archbishop, Desmond Connell, denies any deal until Madden provides documentary proof of a church payoff. The case spurs hundreds of alleged abuse victims to pursue civil lawsuits against the church authorities in Ireland.
After serving a prison term in Northern Ireland, Smyth is extradited south and pleads guilty to 74 counts of sexually abusing 20 boys and girls between 1958 and 1993. He dies of a heart attack in a military prison one month into 12-year sentence. Payne is convicted in Dublin on 14 counts of sexually abusing eight boys aged 11 to 14. He serves four years in prison.
The Rev Sean Fortune commits suicide in prison while awaiting trial on 66 criminal charges of molesting and raping 29 boys in the south-eastern Ferns diocese.
The Ferns bishop Brendan Comiskey becomes the first and only Irish church figure to resign because of failures to stop abuse. He admits he did too little to stop paedophile priests.
The government establishes a board to pay compensation to people who suffered sexual, physical or mental abuse in church-run institutions. Payouts require claimants to renounce their right to sue the church and state authorities. Taxpayers, not the church, cover the bulk of the cost.
Justice Mary Laffoy, the commission's original judge, resigns, complaining that the government's education department – which holds the most records on church-run institutions – is obstructing her investigation. Her successor, Justice Sean Ryan, says the investigation must severely limit the number of abuse cases it considers or it will never finish.
An investigation led by a retired supreme court justice finds that church, police and state authorities did too little to stop the sexual abuse of hundreds of children by 21 priests in Ferns. The report says Ferns bishops sheltered and promoted priests known to have raped altar boys and molested schoolgirls on an altar.
An unknown number of alleged perpetrators also moved to Australia, such as Father Denis McAlinden, who moved from Ireland in 1949 to the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese and died in 2005 with a trail of child sex allegations, a compensation payout and an outstanding warrant for his arrest for sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl.