Ireland’s National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church (NBSCCC) has revealed that 237 new abuse claims involving 196 priests and members of religious orders have been made within the last 12 months.

Ian Elliott, chief executive of the group, says they need more funding to cope with the volume of complaints.

He told the Evening Herald, “We noted in our last annual report that we had received a large number of requests for advice both from religious bodies and dioceses.

"Existing advisory panels were also providing support, but we took the view that an additional resource to support ordinaries faced with challenging safeguarding concerns should be created.

"On a pilot basis, the National Case Management Reference Group (NCMRG) has been set up to address that need."

After its first full year the group received more requests than it had expected and the numbers continue to rise.

He added, “Innovations designed to facilitate that workload, including the establishment of the NCMRG, were prominent”.