The Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Cloyne, Archbishop Dermot Clifford, has said the sexual abuse of children by priests of the diocese deserved utter condemnation.

In a letter being read at masses in Cloyne this evening and tomorrow, Archbishop Clifford apologised to abuse victims there.

This is the first time Archbishop Clifford has directly addressed the people of the diocese on the Murphy Commission report.

In his letter, the Archbishop apologises for what he calls the consistent failure to report allegations of abuse to gardaí and the health authorities.

Archbishop Clifford said the people of Cloyne were entitled to expect that all abuse complaints would be handled according to official Church guidelines and he was truly sorry that this had not happened.

Meanwhile, Minister Seán Sherlock has said that the decision of the former Bishop of Cloyne, John Magee, to issue a statement in response to criticism of him in the Murphy Commission report was inadequate.

Elsewhere, Fine Gael TD Simon Harris has called on the four Archbishops of Ireland to mandate remaining priests refusing to be vetted by gardaí to be removed from pastoral duties until they agree.