Fr Tadhg O’Donovan has apologised for remarks he made about the Revenue Commissioners.

Controversy arose after Fr O’Donovan reportedly branded Revenue Officials 'the biggest shower of bastards on the planet'.

The comments were carried in an article in today's Irish Star newspaper. Fr O'Donovan is curate in the parish of Whitechurch and a convicted tax evader.

He is said to have made the comments to the newspaper after yesterday's publication of his name on a list 76 tax defaulters.

It showed that he had made a settlement of €433,475 with the Revenue Commissioners.

This afternoon he issued a statement in which he said: ‘I wish to apologise for the offensive remarks I made in relation to the Revenue Commissioners. I unreservedly withdraw what I said about them in relation to the timing of the publication of the list, the offensive allegation that they were responsible for suicides, the very intemperate tone and obscene language of my comments, and the statement that the Revenue Commissioners were inconsiderate and inhumane. I made these remarks in the heat of the moment and did not realise that they would be published.’

Earlier, Archbishop Dermot Clifford, Apostolic Administrator of the diocese of Cloyne, apologised to the Revenue Commissioners for the 'unacceptable' comments made by Fr O'Donovan.

Archbishop Clifford had said he had been unable to contact Fr O'Donovan.

He said that he would be seeing Fr O'Donovan as soon as possible and that he would be demanding that he publish a full and immediate apology.

Asked if the request for an apology would be the only sanction demanded by the Archbishop, diocese official Fr William Bermingham said that would be up to Dr Clifford.

Asked what would happen if Fr O'Donovan refused to apologise, Fr Bermingham again said that would be up to the Archbishop.

And he added that a second statement would be issued as soon as the Archbishop succeeded in talking to Fr O'Donovan.

In March 2008, Fr O'Donovan was fined €6,000 at Cork District Court on ten charges relating to his tax affairs - after agreeing a separate €213,000 settlement with the Revenue Commissioners.