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Besieged cleric under growing political pressure to go

GOVERNMENT ministers on both sides of the Border ratcheted up the pressure on Cardinal Sean Brady to resign in the wake of revelations of his failure to report child-rape allegations against the notorious paedophile Fr Brendan Smyth.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn and Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness both called for him to consider his position.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny held firm on his call for the Cardinal to "reflect" on the programme on the BBC, which contained revelations on the handling of clerical abuse. But the Labour Party went further, with strong statements from Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and Mr Quinn.

Mr Quinn called specifically on Cardinal Brady to consider his position, with coalition sources saying the minister believes he should resign.

"He pretty much said he thinks his position is untenable," a source said.

Government sources stressed there was no split between Fine Gael and Labour ministers over the issue.

"It is causing no tensions here at all," a source said.

Mr Gilmore said: "Anybody who did not deal with the scale of the abuse that we have seen in this case, should not be in a position of authority."

Following on from Mr Gilmore's lead, Mr Quinn said it was "inappropriate" for the Cardinal to continue as head of the Catholic church in Ireland.


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He said Cardinal Brady was the head of an organisation which is the patron of 92pc of the 3,200 primary schools but had "failed spectacularly to protect children".

Mr McGuinness said: "Speaking personally, I believe he should reflect on the wisdom of this position, which will leave many Catholics wondering whether anything is to be done by the leadership of the Catholic Church to ring the changes which many believe are required at such a sad time for all."

Mr Kenny said: "Can I speak to you as Taoiseach and therefore head of government, but also as a practising Catholic and father of a young family?

"I like to think that the church that I'm a member of, that I can have pride in it and that it's a church that I believe in and that those who participate in it want that to happen.

"We are putting our house in order and as I said yesterday, as Taoiseach, there is a division between church and State, and the Cardinal should reflect on the outcome of that programme."

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin also said the Cardinal should consider his position.

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