The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray.

Dr Murray, a former auxiliary bishop in Dublin, had been under pressure to quit since the publication of the Murphy Report into clerical child abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese.

The report criticised Bishop Murray for his failure to deal with allegations about Fr Thomas Naughton and said the failure was inexcusable.

In a statement today Bishop Murray said that he had taken time to study the Murphy Report before coming to his decision.

The bishop had spent ten days with officials in the Vatican this month as he weighed up his future.

He said: 'I know full well that my resignation cannot undo the pain that survivors of abuse have suffered in the past and continue to suffer each day.

'I humbly apologise once again to all who were abused as little children. To all survivors of abuse, I repeat that my primary concern is to assist in every way that I can on their journey towards finding closure and serenity.

'I asked the Holy Father to allow me to resign and to appoint a new bishop to the diocese because I believe that my presence will create difficulties for some of the survivors who must have first place in our thoughts and prayers.'

The statement confirmed that Bishop Murray he had met the Congregation of Bishops in Rome on 7 December and there it was decided that his letter of resignation should be presented to the Pope.

The Pope accepted the resignation on Monday but it was agreed that Bishop Murray should return to Limerick to allow him be in his diocese when the announcement was made.

Bishop Murray apologised in person to massgoers in St John's Cathedral in Limerick.

Meanwhile, Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin has urged all other clerics who hold a position of authority and collective responsibility to face their responsibilities.

His comments followed the announcement by another former auxiliary bishop of Dublin that he is prepared to resign if it serves the interests of the church, victims and people. But Dr Jim Moriarty said no decision had been taken on that yet.