The child protection delegate in the Diocese of Cloyne has resigned.

In a statement issued this afternoon, Fr Bill Bermingham said his handling of a case involving an allegation of child sexual abuse made against a priest in the Diocese of Cloyne had 'caused further distress to the complainant'.

He said it 'is vital that any person occupying the role of designated officer/delegate within the Church should have the complete confidence of victims of child sexual abuse and of persons wishing to report abuse'.

Fr Bermingham added that his 'handling of this particular case has, despite my best intentions, served to undermine that confidence.

'For this reason and in the interests of those who have been offended against - and in the interests of the Church's policy for the safeguarding of children - I have asked Archbishop Dermot Clifford to relieve me of the role of Designated Officer/Delegate in the Diocese of Cloyne'.

A report in the Irish Examiner claimed Fr Bermingham informally took a statement from a woman alleging abuse and passed it on to the priest concerned before he was interviewed by the gardaí.

Last night, Fr Bermingham said he received the allegation in May 2009 and immediately reported it to the gardaí and the Health Service Executive in accordance with guidelines set down by the Catholic Church on the safeguarding of children which are fully compliant with child protection legislation.

Fr Bermingham said the guidelines required him to inform the accused person of the identity of the complainant and details of the allegation.

Archbishop Clifford said he has requested Fr John McCarthy to act on a temporary basis in the role of Designated Person on behalf of the diocese.