Cardinal Sean Brady has confirmed that he represented the Church at meetings when two teenage victims of Fr Brendan Smyth signed an oath of silence about their complaints.

The complaints were being investigated by Cardinal Brady in his capacity as secretary to the Bishop of Kilmore in 1975.

Cardinal Daly said tonight he had been following his Bishop's orders and there were no guidelines for dealing with such investigations at that time.

In a statement, Cardinal Brady said he had believed the complaints he received and had provided the information he received to his then Bishop, Dr Francis McKiernan.

Brendan Smyth was one of the country's most notorious child abusers and delays in processing an extradition warrant for him from Northern Ireland caused the collapse of the Fianna Fáil/Labour coalition government.

He is believed to have abused at least 20 children over a 40-year period.

Statement from Cardinal's office

'In 1975, Fr Sean Brady, as he then was, was the part-time secretary to the then Bishop of Kilmore, the late Bishop Francis McKiernan.

At the direction of Bishop McKiernan, Fr Brady attended two meetings: in the Dundalk meeting Fr Brady acted as recording secretary for the process involved and in the Ballyjamesduff meeting he asked the questions and recorded the answers given.

At those meetings the complainants signed undertakings, on oath, to respect the confidentiality of the information gathering process. As instructed, and as a matter of urgency, Fr Brady passed both reports to Bishop McKiernan for his immediate action.'