"A theocracy in all but name" is what the late Irish author John McGahern called his country, especially in the mid-20th century post-independence years, when the Catholic clergy wielded power well beyond the church pulpit. Power to incarcerate children, and, according to a report just released, power that resulted in the abuse of those same children.
I haven't read the report (available at the above BBC link), but the news reports surrounding its release recall two films on the subject. "Song For a Raggy Boy" (2004), reviewed here, was dramatically over-dramatized, but apparently spot-on as far as content showing abuse at the hands of "religious," as they were called.
Superior in both dramatic content and credibility is the 2003 film "The Magdalene Sisters," a harrowing account (in part because it portrays events happening as late as the Sixties) of life in a reform school for girls.
Ireland has largely moved on from being the "priest-ridden land" that it once was. The very fact of the abuse report's publication proves that. But the damage caused by priests, brothers, and I regret to say, nuns (other than a few disciplinarians, my memory of Irish nuns remains positive) to thousands of children over decades is incalculable.
To say nothing of the lasting damage caused to the Catholic Church.
Theocracy: a concept of governance best left in the Dark Ages.
(Celtic cross clip art from "Ireland Fun Facts" [sic] website)