Bishop John Magee told Mass goers in Cobh, Co Cork tonight that he had asked for an administrator to be appointed to his diocese, so he could concentrate on his commitment to co-operate with the State's investigation into the handling of clerical child sex abuse allegations there.

Dr Magee said he was withdrawing from the running of the diocese in order to dedicate himself fully to the investigation.

Read Dr Magee's statement here

The Catholic Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, Cardinal Seán Brady, has welcomed Pope Benedict's announcement that he has acceded to Bishop Magee's request to step aside indefinitely as Bishop Of Cloyne

The Pope has announced that the Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, the Most Reverend Dermot Clifford, is to take over as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Cloyne.

The appointment means that Archbishop Clifford takes over the running of the diocese from Bishop John Magee.

Bishop Magee will retain the title of Bishop of Cloyne.

Bishop Magee had faced calls for his resignation since the publication last year of an independent report, which found his diocese had put children at risk of harm through an inability to respond appropriately to abuse allegations.

The report was conducted by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSC), a body set up by, but independent of the Catholic Church.

Archbishop Clifford said: 'I look forward to serving the people and priests of Cloyne and to giving them pastoral leadership to the best of my ability. Coming from a neighbouring diocese, I know them to be a people with a proud tradition of faith.

'I will give every possible cooperation to the Commission of Inquiry into the Diocese of Cloyne.'

Bishop Magee welcomed the appointment of Archbishop Clifford.

In a statement this afternoon Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, said the decision 'is an indication of the importance which the Church gives to safeguarding children and caring for the needs of victims'.

He said he wished Archbishop Clifford well as he takes on the administration of the Diocese of Cloyne.

Archbishop Clifford was born on 25 January 1939.

He was ordained a priest on 22 February 1964, ordained Coadjutor Archbishop on 9 March 1986 and installed as Archbishop of Cashel and Emly on 12 September 1988.

Bishop Magee served as private secretary to popes Paul VI, Pope John Paul I and Pope John Paul II and in 1982 he was appointed Master of Pontifical Ceremonies.

A group that counsels survivors of abuse has welcomed Bishop John Magee's decision to step aside as Bishop Of Cloyne.

Maeve Lewis, who leads the One in Four organisation, said the decision underlines the sincerity with which the Catholic Church is taking the safety of children.