Page last updated at 09:33 GMT, Thursday, 24 December 2009

More Irish bishops 'must quit'

Church candles
The Catholic church in Ireland has been rocked by the abuse scandal

The remaining Irish bishops named in a report which exposed how Catholic leaders concealed child abuse must resign, a victims group has said.

On Wednesday the Bishop of Kildare said he would stand down, which came after the resignation of the Bishop of Limerick.

Maeve Lewis, chief executive of the One in Four group, said the resignations of three more bishops are "inevitable."

She said they should go quickly to avoid more damage to abuse survivors.

The Murphy report into abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese found that members of the church hierarchy were often more concerned with the reputation of the church than protecting children.

The other senior clerics facing calls to stand down include:

• Martin Drennan - Auxiliary Bishop in Dublin from 1997 to 2005 and currently Bishop of Galway. After the report was published Bishop Drennan said he was comfortable with the findings as it "says nothing negative about me".

• Eamonn Walsh - Auxiliary Bishop in Dublin since 1990. Before that, he was secretary to the Archbishop of Dublin from 1985 and held key positions in the archdiocese for much of the period covered by the Murphy report.

• Ray Field, a qualified barrister and Auxiliary Bishop in Dublin since 1997. He was found not to have fully informed a parish priest about abuse concerns surrounding a colleague.


Ms Lewis said it was "immensely distressing and insulting" to survivors to be forced to listen as "one bishop after another justifies his position and attempts to hold on to power until he is shamed into resigning".

Marie Collins, who was abused by one of the priests named in the Murphy report, said it was not good enough for the bishops to say they not been criticised for personally mishandling a case.

"The point was they were managing the diocese, they were in positions of power in the diocese and they did nothing to stop what was going on.

"Doing nothing was every bit as bad as mishandling something personally."

Meanwhile, the Irish Times has reported conflict between Bishop Eamonn Walsh and the current Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin.

Bishop Walsh has sent a letter to priests stating Archbishop Martin had expressed full confidence in his auxiliary bishops following the Murphy report.

However, a spokeswoman for the Archbishop has made it clear that he is still evaluating the report and has not expressed unconditional support for anyone.

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