The Taoiseach acknowledged that the report "catalogues failures and enormous shortcomings in Tusla"

Some children are at risk of sexual abuse due to failures by Tusla to implement its own policies.

That’s one of the major findings by health watchdog HIQA, which says Tusla must take urgent action to address serious shortcomings in how it manages child sex abuse allegations.

One reason blamed is a lack of social workers, but HIQA says systems are also failing.

HIQA also found there was no formal process for Tusla to communicate with the gardaí.

The watchdog now wants the Department of Children to set up an oversight group to help Tusla implement the recommendations.

Mary Dunnion, a lead investigator with HIQA, observed: "By October 2017, the investigation team had identified - and escalated to the minister, the department and Tusla - that there was three key defective points.

"In essence it means there is an actual systems risk which places children at potential risk."

Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon in the wake of the report's publication, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar observed: "The report catalogues failures and enormous shortcomings in Tusla and in child protection.

"The problems that exist around child protection are well known - but they are being dealt with over time, and we will continue to deal with them."