It was first established on an administrative basis in May 1999, under Judge Mary Laffoy. The first objective set for the Commission was to consider the broad terms of reference then provided to it, determine if these needed refining and recommend to Government the powers and protections it would need to do its work effectively. The Commission reported to the Government in September and October, 1999. The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Act, 2000 (the Act) was enacted on 26th April 2000 The legislation follows closely the recommendations in the reports of the non-statutory Commission.
The Statutory Commission established under the Act has three primary functions:-