18/05/2010

Bishop Holds On Despite 'Abuse' Link

It emerged today that the Catholic Primate of all Ireland Dr Sean Brady will not step down until his 75th birthday.

That's in four years time and is despite him facing increasing pressure to resign over his role in an investigation of clerical abuse.

The cardinal has admitted that he was present when children signed vows of silence over allegations against a paedophile priest in 1975.

However, he has now asked for a Vatican inspection of child protection procedures to include Armagh diocese and for an additional bishop to be appointed in the diocese.

His comments followed the publication of the Annual Report of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland.

It found that nearly 200 new allegations of abuse have been reported to the Catholic Church's child protection watchdog since April 2009.

In a statement released on Monday night, the head of the Catholic Church said he has asked the Pope for this extra help to push through measures to deal with the sex scandal.

It is thought that will mean that a Bishop will be appointed to work alongside him.

"In the years that remain to me as Archbishop of Armagh, I am fully committed to building on the substantial progress made in child safeguarding in recent years and to working to bring about the healing, repentance and renewal set out for the Church in Ireland by Pope Benedict XVI," the statement read.

"I am fully committed to the path that as a Church we must take to the truth that will set us free."

Dr Brady has continued to resist calls for him to step down after he confirmed he was present at a meeting where two teenagers abused by paedophile priest Father Brendan Smyth were asked to take a vow of silence.

The then Fr Brady was a part-time secretary to the late Bishop Francis McKiernan when he interviewed the young victims who were made to sign the oath of secrecy.

On St Patrick's Day, the Cardinal said he would reflect on his position and the best way forward for the Church.

In Monday's statement, he added: "I want to thank all those whom I have met over recent weeks as part of my own reflection on the next steps we might take.

"I listened firstly to those who are survivors of abuse. Some of these meetings were made known to the public while others were held in private at the request of those I was meeting.

"I thank them all for their generosity and courage in sharing their experiences and their wide variety of views with me," he said, but has continued to refuse to resign.

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