Published: Dec 16, 2010 8:03 PM EST
Updated: Dec 16, 2010 5:03 PM EST

DUBLIN (AP) - Northern Ireland's government says it will investigate decades of cover-ups of child abuse in boarding schools and other institutions run by the Catholic Church, Protestant denominations and the state.

The move mirrors a similar investigation in the Republic of Ireland, where two state-ordered probes in 2009 documented how tens of thousands of children in Catholic Church-run residential schools suffered sexual, physical and mental abuse from the 1940s to 1990s.

First Minister Peter Robinson says the probe by Northern Ireland government agencies will identify the scale of past abuse and recommend counseling and other support for victims still alive today.

He said Thursday that the task force would report conclusions by July.

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