A new report from Amnesty International has concluded that the sexual abuse of children by priests and church run institutions in Ireland, amounted to torture.

“The sexual abuse in the diocesan reports, and the sexual, physical and emotional abuse, the living conditions, and the neglect described in the Ryan Report, can be categorised as torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under human rights law.” according to the report.

Commissioned by Amnesty International, the In Plain Sight report follows the publications of a number of reports into clerical abuse in Ireland, the latest being the Cloyne Report.

Amnesty’s research included an opinion poll and found that some of abuse met the legal definition of torture. Some 84 percent of those surveyed in the poll felt that society should have done more to prevent the abuse.

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The report was based on four major inquiries into clerical abuse in Ireland including the Ferns, Ryan, Murphy and Cloyne.

The report said that there was a “deference to” and “fear of” the Catholic church.

The Red C poll conducted in conjunction with the report found that half of respondents felt society would rather turn a blind eye to child abuse.