THE head of the Catholic Church in Ireland admitted last night that senior clerics ignored the cries of abused children in the Cloyne Diocese.
Cardinal Sean Brady said: "This is another dark day in the history of the response of church leaders to the cry of children abused by church personnel."
He described what happened in the Cork diocese under former Bishop Dr John Magee as "deplorable and totally unacceptable".
"Grave errors of judgment were made and serious failures of leadership occurred," Cardinal Brady added.
Another senior church leader, Archbishop Dr Dermot Clifford, admitted that "lies" had been told.
Dr Clifford, who took over the diocese from Dr Magee, said he discovered that two different accounts of the same complaint meeting had been submitted.
He said some of the behaviour in Cloyne over child-protection issues was "indefensible".
Dr Clifford also said the former bishop -- who is currently believed to be in the US -- should have been in Ireland to answer questions yesterday.
In a press release yesterday, Dr Magee apologised "to all those abused by priests in the Diocese of Cloyne for my failure to ensure they were fully supported and responded to in their time of need".
When challenged about Dr Magee's fitness to hold the position, Archbishop Clifford said: "He wasn't up to standard on this particular area but in other areas he would have been as good as any other bishop."
In reference to the specific complaint made by a young man about Dr Magee himself, the archbishop said there were two interpretations.
"I was asked on a sinister interpretation, would you say it was grooming? I said on a sinister interpretation, yes.
"But on a benign interpretation, it was a young man who was distraught and he attempted to console him and acted inappropriately in doing so. And that's still my view."