Published Tuesday, 14 January 2014
The Historical Abuse Inquiry is being held in Banbridge, Co Down. (© PA)
The Catholic religious order said it "accepts" and "regrets" what happened to children who stayed at a home in Kircubbin, Co Down, which was run by the brothers.
It is one of a number of church and state institutions which are now at the centre of the UK's largest ever investigation into alleged abuse over seven decades.
Kevin Rooney QC, for the De La Salle Brothers, told the public hearing: "They accept and deeply regret that boys in their care were abused. They wish to offer their sincere and unreserved apology to all those whom they failed to protect. That some brothers abused boys in care was in contradiction to their vocation as De La Salle Brothers."
The brothers recognise the human pain and suffering caused to those victims that have been abused
Kevin Rooney QC
Mr Rooney added: "They recognise that there have been failures to protect the victims.
"This inquiry represents perhaps the last opportunity to establish what exactly occurred during the operation of the homes."
Further admissions were made on behalf of the Sisters of Nazareth order of nuns.
Turlough Montague QC said: "They recognise the hurt that's been caused to some children in their care. They apologise unreservedly for any abuse suffered by children in their care.
"They go forward hoping that lessons will be learned, not just by them in the provision of care but also by carers generally in society and in wider society at large."
A statement was also made by Moira Smyth, on behalf of the Health and Social Care Board, offering its apologies to individuals in cases where the board, which commissions services in Northern Ireland, failed to meet acceptable standards.
Tuesday was the second day of the abuse inquiry, which is being chaired by retired judge Sir Anthony Hart, and is set to hear the testimony of more than 300 victims.
Earlier, a senior lawyer to the investigation panel told the hearing that some children's homes in Northern Ireland were outdated "survivors of a bygone age" by the 1960s.
Christine Smith QC said welfare reforms introduced by the NI government in the years after the Second World War were not adopted by some institutions. She said: "The evidence suggests that those homes operated as outdated survivors of a bygone age."
The inquiry is expected to last 18 months.
© UTV News