CARDINAL Sean Brady has confirmed that he will attend the Papal conclave to elect Pope Benedict XVI's successor, despite calls from Irish abuse victims for him to stay away.
The Primate of All Ireland has been named by Italian media among several cardinals worldwide whose positions have been rocked by abuse scandals.
Christine Buckley, who was abused as a child in a church-run institution, said Cardinal Brady should not attend the Vatican conclave next month as "a personal gesture towards victims".
"I have passed that request on to the cardinal, as well as to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and the Irish Bishops' Conference," she told the Irish Independent.
"Given how the issue of abuse was handled by Cardinal Brady and these other cardinals, they should not represent their churches in Rome in the selection of a new pope."
But Cardinal Brady has confirmed that he will travel to the conclave as he repeated his apology to Irish abuse victims.
A spokesman said: "Cardinal Brady takes this opportunity to express once again his deep sorrow to all those who were abused as children, their families and to all people who feel rightly outraged and let down by the Catholic Church's failure of moral leadership and accountability."
Cardinal Brady also repeated his apology for his own actions and failings, saying: "I have listened to reaction from people to my role in events 35 years ago. I want to say to anyone who has been hurt by any failure on my part that I apologise to you with all my heart.
"I also apologise to all those who feel I let them down. Looking back, I am ashamed I have not always upheld the values that I profess and believe in."
A successor has already been lined up for Cardinal Brady's position with the appointment of Monsignor Eamon Martin as Coadjutor of the Archdiocese of Armagh.
The cardinal has been under pressure for several years after revelations about his handling of abuse allegations against the notorious paedophile Fr Brendan Smyth.
It emerged that he had been aware of abuse by Smyth in the 1970s but did not inform either gardai or the victims' parents.
Ms Buckley, who founded and runs the Aislinn Centre, acknowledged any decision to stay away from the conclave must be taken voluntarily by Cardinal Brady. She said: "I feel that this would be a gesture, however small, towards victims who suffered so much because they were not protected by the people who should have ensured that they were protected."