In Armagh tonight the Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Seán Brady, said new procedures introduced in Ferns should be quickly extended to all dioceses. 

Dr Brady said he was shocked and saddened by the betrayal of innocence highlighted in the Murphy Inquiry report into the Church's handling of allegations of sexual abuse by priests in the Diocese of Ferns.

He welcomed Government plans to make the reckless endangerment of children a crime.

Meanwhile, Bishop Brendan Comiskey, who resigned as Bishop of Ferns at the height of the abuse controversy in 2002, welcomed the report.

He repeated how sorry he was for his inadequacies and for his failings and asked for forgiveness for them.

Bishop Comiskey said he had answered comprehensively the questions asked of him throughout the Ferns Inquiry to the best of his ability.

The Administrator of the Diocese of Ferns, Bishop Eamonn Walsh, has also welcomed the report and said he accepted its findings.

At a media conference in Gorey he apologised unreservedly for the ‘awful’ suffering of the abused, for the failure of the church authorities to act on the allegations, which he said, could have led to much of the abuse being avoided.

He said there were hard lessons to be learned and the diocese was committed to doing all it could to repair the harm that had been done. Bishop Walsh said this was going to be a long-term process.