A BATCH of new files for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is being prepared by a special garda team investigating complaints of sexual or physical assaults on children by members of religious orders.
The move follows inquiries carried out by detectives around the country and in the UK as they pursued fresh lines of investigation.
Almost 100 new cases of abuse were reported to the team.
Most of the complaints were lodged after gardai set up a telephone hotline following the publication of the Ryan Report in May 2009. It emerged last night that a total of 181 calls were made to the hotline.
These resulted in 60 new complaints of sexual abuse by clerics and a further 33 allegations concerning sexual and physical assaults.
Following a detailed probe by officers from the national bureau of criminal investigation, an initial 12 files were sent to the DPP to determine whether criminal charges should be brought.
The DPP has so far ruled against any charges in eight of the files and is still considering the other four.
A further four files are being compiled and are nearing completion.
Gardai pointed out that the time lapse between the alleged assaults and the lodging of the complaints was a major factor in reaching a conclusion on criminal charges.
However, some cases investigated by gardai prior to the publication of the Ryan report did result in the conviction of abusers.
All inquiries into allegations and complaints of abuse are now being overseen by a new sexual crime management unit.
The unit evaluates investigations into child sexual abuse, child neglect and other sexual offences to ensure they are being dealt with properly and brought to a prompt conclusion.
The team, which is part of the existing domestic violence and sexual assault investigation unit, is also focusing on assisting and training gardai in carrying out inquiries into abuse.
It has also been tasked with maintaining a record of all complaints of clerical sexual abuse and interacting with agencies that are in a position to report complaints to gardai.
Gardai and the Police Service of Northern Ireland have also prepared guidance manuals on how their members should approach a crime with a cross-border dimension.
The manuals are intended for use in all crimes and cover the sharing of intelligence and information between forces.