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St. John Ambulance failed to investigate concerns children were being sexually abused for years, an independent investigation has found.

The report found there was ‘a significant degree of organisational awareness’ of serious threats to children for years, yet the voluntary body failed to take any action.

The independent investigation found the organisation’s structure and culture ‘facilitated’ potential grooming of children.

Despite a ‘well established’ awareness in the organisation of ‘specific threats to child safety’ by the early 1990s, St John Ambulance failed to act against the alleged abuser, which the report said was ‘a serious failure’ of its ethical duty.

A former senior figure in its Old Kilmainham division in Dublin is alleged to have sexually abused more than 15 boys in the organisation, between the late 1960s and late 1990s.

The investigation concluded that there had been ‘significant suspicions’ that the Old Kilmainham division ‘posed potential serious threats’ to children and their failure to take action was down to fear of being sued and to protect the organisation’s reputation.