A Catholic priest in the archdiocese of Tuam has been suspended from his parish duties, following newspaper revelations he is being investigated by gardaí for alleged rape.

The Archbishop of Tuam, Dr Michael Neary, said the priest had agreed at his request to stand aside from his ministry in order to remove the shadow of suspicion from other priests in the

Meanwhile, the Tánaiste and Minister for Health, Mary Harney, has clarified how further investigations into the handling of child sex abuse by the Catholic Church will progress.

This follows Tuesday’s publication of the Ferns Report into the handling of allegations of clerical sexual abuse in the Wexford diocese.

Replying to Labour Leader Pat Rabbite, Mary Harney said that the Minister of State for Children is in discussions with the Minister for Justice on the establishment of a new commission of inquiry.

It is likely that module one of that inquiry will be an examination of current practices in all dioceses to ensure that protections now in place in Ferns are also in effect countrywide.   

The work on the terms of the inquiry is continuing and those terms will be presented to Cabinet in two weeks’ time.