NOTORIOUS paedophile priest Brendan Smyth abused 30 or more children in the years after Cardinal Sean Brady failed to report his crimes, a former RUC officer has revealed.
ressure was growing on Dr Brady to resign today as Barnardo’s chief Fergus Finlay joined the calls for him to step down.
Dr Brady’s position is becoming increasingly untenable after new revelations about his failure to report child rape allegations or inform the parents of some of Smyth's victims.
The cardinal admitted that there had been nothing to stop him going to civil authorities about accusations against the serial paedophile.
Last night a former RUC officer close to the Smyth investigation said the paedophile would have been prevented from abusing others if he had been reported in 1975.
Church sources said Cardinal Brady had lost vital moral authority as the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, as he repeatedly referred to church protocols.
Dr Brady was named in a BBC documentary broadcast on Tuesday and repeated across the UK last night as one of three clerics who investigated Smyth.
He took notes as victim Brendan Boland, then aged 14, detailed horrific abuse and gave the clergy the names of five other potential victims.
But while Fr Brady rose through the ranks of the Catholic Church, Smyth continued to abuse more young boys and girls until his arrest nearly 20 years later.
Last night a former RUC officer who was close to the Smyth investigation told the Irish Independent that Smyth would have been stopped from ruining countless other lives had he been reported to the authorities in 1975.
"It is my view that there were up to 30 victims of Brendan Smyth between 1975 and his arrest in 1991 -- and to be honest there could be dozens more that we never ever found out about," said the officer.
"Predatory paedophiles like Smyth just don't suddenly stop. I have no doubt these people (victims) and God knows how many others would have been saved from the most horrific attacks had Smyth been stopped earlier. The failure of the Catholic Church to deal with this in 1975 is really unforgivable."
Asked what he thought the then Father Brady should have done, he said: "There was a culture of keeping this in the church back then. But had he called in the police Smyth could have been stopped. He should have told the parents.
"That's my view but it's not for me to say whether he should resign or not."
Taoiseach Enda Kenny also waded into the storm by calling on the cardinal to "reflect on the contents of a controversial BBC programme".
Abuse victims insisted he should stand down after Cardinal Brady said he was obeying church guidelines when he failed to report the abuse of young boys and girls in 1975. That responsibility, said the cardinal, lay with more senior clergy.
Mr Finlay told Morning Ireland on RTE Radio One today that the Church needed a fresh start with people who had no association with the abuse of the past.
Dr Brady was adamant that he wouldn't resign, saying he had considered his position in the past but had decided to stay on.
The cardinal insisted: "The commentary in the programme and much of the coverage of my role in this inquiry gives the impression that I was the only person who knew of the allegations against Brendan Smyth at that time and that because of the office I hold in the church today I somehow had the power to stop Brendan Smyth in 1975.
"I had absolutely no authority over Brendan Smyth. Even my bishop had limited authority over him. The only people who had authority within the church to stop Brendan Smyth from having contact with children were his abbot in the monastery in Kilnacrott and his religious superiors in the Norbertine Order."
The cardinal said he was "shocked and appalled" when he learned of Smyth's new victims in the 1990s, saying he felt "betrayed" by the Norbertine Order and his religious superiors.
Cardinal Brady has the backing of the Vatican's chief investigator, Monsignor Charles J Scicluna, who said there is no reason for him to resign. Armagh Auxiliary Bishop Gerard Clifford also offered his support.
But three years ago, when allegations about Cardinal Brady's role in the canonical inquiry into Smyth first began to emerge, he said he would resign if he found his actions or failings had led to another child being abused.
He attempted to qualify that yesterday by saying he was referring specifically to responsibilities he had as a bishop.
However, church sources last night said that Cardinal Brady would be reflecting on his position again over the coming days. The response of his parishioners is seen as being crucial to his future. They said that Dr Brady would be desperate "not to be seen to cave in to pressure".
"When he says Mass this weekend... if he gets a good reaction then he may tough it out, but if he is seen to have lost the people of the diocese of Armagh then he may move to resign," said one source.
Abuse victims last night redoubled their criticism of Cardinal Brady and his handling of the entire affair.
Campaigner Christine Buckley rejected his defence and called on him to go.
"Many young children at a tender age told the authorities about this behaviour and yet a man of 36 did nothing," she said.
Abuse survivor Marie Collins criticised Ireland's bishops for failing speak out.