A BISHOP has branded the inaction of Fr Brendan Smyth's superior "inexcusable".
Bishop Leo O'Reilly of Kilmore last night criticised the then Abbot, Fr Kevin Smith, of the Norbertine Order at Holy Trinity Abbey in Kilnacrott, Co Cavan.
"I find it incomprehensible that Abbot Smith did not take effective action to stop Brendan Smyth committing further abuse against children," he added.
"This failure to act was inexcusable."
The abbot, who stepped down in the wake of Smyth's conviction in 1994, was last night uncontactable.
"We do not wish to add to the many statements we have issued on this matter over the years. We again fully accept our failings in this matter and again sincerely apologise to those abused by Fr Brendan Smyth," the Norbertine Committee said in a brief statement last night.
Last Saturday, the abbot was photographed attending the opening of a creche in Co Cavan to bless it.
As Smyth's superior since 1969, he had known for some time about the paedophile priest's "propensity to molest children". He has previously said Smyth was reassigned every two or three years to prevent him "forming attachments" to families.
He has also admitted that he did not warn two parishes in the US of the priest's history when Smyth was sent there. Smyth went on to abuse children in that country.
In Bishop O'Reilly's response to the BBC's documentary 'The Shame Of The Catholic Church', he said he was "profoundly saddened and angered" by the violation of children's innocence.