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Bishop refuses to quit over his controversial paedophilia comments

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Bishop of Clonfert Dr. John Kirby apologized for the way he dealt with allegations in his dioceses after the catholic diocese of Clonfert published a report into child safe-guarding practices.

Bishop of Clonfert Dr. John Kirby apologized for the way he dealt with allegations in his dioceses after the catholic diocese of Clonfert published a report into child safe-guarding practices.

Bishop of Clonfert Dr. John Kirby apologized for the way he dealt with allegations in his dioceses after the catholic diocese of Clonfert published a report into child safe-guarding practices.

THE bishop at the centre of the controversy over his remarks on paedophilia is refusing to consider his position -- despite the growing public outcry over his comments.

Dr John Kirby remained silent on the matter yesterday as calls for his resignation grew.

The bishop, who is chairman of Trocaire, would not answer media queries yesterday following his remarks that he had believed paedophilia to be "a friendship that had crossed a boundary line".

While he apologised for his role in moving two priests to new parishes after they had abused children in the 1990s, his claims that he was unaware of the true nature of paedophilia have been met with outrage by many members of the public.

All queries to the bishop yesterday were directed to the Catholic Communications Office, which insisted that he would not consider resignation.

"Bishop Kirby addressed that question yesterday and the situation remains the same today," a spokesperson said.

Dr Kirby received support from the Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise, Colm O'Reilly, who told the Irish Independent: "I could only think of my own experience at that time. I don't know that I was any better informed than he was."

One of seven audits by the church's child-protection watchdog, the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church (NBSCC), found that Dr Kirby transferred two abusive priests from one parish to another in 1990 and 1994. Dr Kirby said the abuse was reported to civil authorities.

Officers from the garda sexual crime-management unit are to study the outcome of the seven audits, which was set up after the Ryan and Murphy reports.

They will then determine whether any further action is necessary.

PROSECUTIONS

Gardai have already investigated fresh complaints of clerical sex abuse that emerged and will shortly files to the Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to their inquiries into complaints by almost 20 former pupils of a secondary boarding school in Co Cork.

Officers are hopeful of the go-ahead from the DPP for new criminal prosecutions after the files have been studied by lawyers in her office. The complaints were made against four former members of staff, one of whom has since died.

Fianna Fail senator Mark Daly, who used Oireachtas privilege to name a priest accused of abuse, said Dr Kirby was "not fit to be a bishop".