The Christian Brothers, a Catholic lay order that once played a central role in Ireland's education system, apologized Saturday for abuse inflicted in its schools and institutions.
Half-page advertisements in Sunday's Irish newspapers acknowledge that pupils suffered harsh punishment and sexual abuse. The ads also said complaints by abuse victims had been ignored.
The ads give telephone numbers on both sides of the Irish border to provide confidential help for pupils mistreated by members of the order.
"In a way, we are putting our hands up and saying this happened," said a spokesman at the order's Dublin headquarters, according to Press Association, the British national news agency.
The Christian Brothers have operated orphanages and boys' schools throughout the world. In Newfoundland, Canada, nine lay brothers were convicted of abuse-related crimes at an orphanage from 1988 to 1993.
They were sentenced to prison terms ranging from one to 13 years.