ARCHBISHOP of Dublin Diarmuid Martin yesterday admitted to being "abandoned" by fellow clerics who were far more concerned with protecting priests than helping child sex abuse victims.
He added he had "no idea" of the extent of the abuse when he was appointed as coadjutor archbishop in May 2003.
His comments came as the final chapter of a report into clerical child sex abuse in the Cork Diocese of Cloyne was published today.
Last Friday, the High Court cleared the way for the chapter dealing with a priest given the pseudonym 'Fr Ronat' to be published, which details how abuse claims against him were handled by then Bishop John Magee and his child-protection team.
Yesterday, Dr Martin said church authorities in Dublin had ignored victims and that he felt angry children and their parents were unable to lead normal lives. "Abuse took place and priority wasn't given to those children," he said.
"There have been times (when I felt I couldn't handle this). There were times when I would rather be doing something else. But this won't go away.
"I felt very much abandoned. All I can do is follow my own conscience and all you can do is make things better," he added.