CARDINAL Sean Brady has said that his planned successor at the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, co-adjudicator Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin, is "excellently prepared" to take on the role when his resignation is accepted by Pope Francis.
And the 75-year-old has said he is "looking forward to the day" that the Vatican approves his retirement.
Dr Brady has faced criticism over his role in the church's handling of abuse claims against paedophile priest Fr Brendan Smyth.
Victims of clerical sexual abuse had called on Pope Francis to accept his resignation immediately.
This week it emerged that Dr Brady has written to the Pope requesting approval to retire.
In a statement issued last night, Dr Brady said he offered his resignation to Pope Francis last month in the "anticipation" of his 75th birthday, which he celebrates today.
His letter to the Vatican coincided with a call from Irish clerical abuse survivor Marie Kane, who met Pope Francis on July 7, for the Cardinal to stand down immediately.
"As far as I am concerned he should have resigned before now," she said last night.
In his statement Dr Brady said: "I look forward to the day when my resignation will be accepted and when Archbishop Eamon will take over.
"Last month I offered my resignation to Pope Francis in accordance with the requirement of Canon Law."
As soon as Pope Francis accepts his resignation Archbishop Eamon (Martin) will become Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland.
"Archbishop Eamon has been warmly welcomed into the diocese.
"He has worked tirelessly in getting to know its priests, religious and lay faithful, as well as by becoming involved in every aspect of the life of the Church in Armagh and beyond," the statement read.
Brendan Boland, who was abused by notorious paedophile Fr Brendan Smyth, published his account of the churches' handling of his abuse in his book Sworn to Silence.
The book reproduced transcripts signed by the Cardinal, then Fr John Brady, which show the oath of secrecy which Boland was made to sign and which Fr Brady oversaw.