The religious order that runs some of Ireland’s biggest schools has been rocked by fresh allegations of child sex abuse in Africa.

The Irish Times reports that the Spiritans religious congregation has been hit by new allegations of abuse carried out by members while they were in ministry at schools in Africa.

The order has confirmed to the paper that the accounts of several victims contained in the report are consistent with reports they have received about named priests.

A spokesman told the Irish Times: “The congregation in Ireland expresses profound regret. The content of the reports is consistent with complaints that we have received about the individual priests mentioned.”

The Spiritans run some of the best-known schools in Ireland including Blackrock College, St Mary’s, Templeogue College and St Michael’s in Dublin, and Rockwell College in Tipperary.

The spokesman could not ‘comment on the specifics of the allegations’ put by the Irish Times.

But he said: “We deeply regret not only the abuse that has been inflicted by any member of the province on individual victims, whether in Ireland or overseas, but also the failings on the part of the province in the way we received or dealt with some complaints.

“The order is particularly conscious that some incidents of abuse by members of our province outside of Ireland may not have been brought to our attention.

“We will be moving to address this issue in the next phase of our safeguarding work.”

The reports in Monday’s Irish Times detail child abuse allegations against Fr Henry Moloney, arising from his time at Christ the King College (CKC), Bo, Sierra Leone, between 1973 and 1979.

The paper says that Fr Moloney, who resides at the congregation’s Kimmage Manor in Dublin, was sentenced in 2000 and 2009 for abusing four boys at St Mary’s College between 1968 and 1973, the years immediately before his appointment to CKC in Sierra Leone.

The report adds that in 1979 he returned from Sierra Leone to Blackrock College and was appointed to Rockwell College in 1980. He was there until 1996, when he was removed from ministry.

Further allegations are made against Fr Patrick Hannan when he was at St Teresa’s secondary school for boys in Nairobi, Kenya, and Fr Christopher Meagher at Rockwell College.

Concerns have also been reported about the record of Fr Arthur Carragher in Nigeria, where he served for 17 years before joining the teaching staff at St Marys College in 1969.

The paper says he transferred to Toronto in 1971 but was accused by four men of abusing them during his brief time in Dublin. In 2002 he admitted to abusing two of the men, and they were paid compensation.

He remained in ministry and died in Canada in 2011.

A review of the congregation’s child protection practices, published in September and conducted by the Catholic Church’s child protection watchdog, the National Board for Safeguarding Children, found that 142 abuse allegations had been made against 47 Spiritan/Holy Ghost priests since January 1st, 1975.