The Catholic Archbishop overseeing the diocese of Cloyne has asked Bishop John Magee's former deputy, Monsignor Denis O'Callaghan, to stop commenting publicly on the abuse controversy in the diocese.

Archbishop Dermot Clifford was responding to the Monsignor's admission that he should have resigned as Cloyne's child protection delegate because he disagreed with the church guidelines he was supposed to enforce.

Until three years ago, Monsignor O'Callaghan was Bishop Magee's investigator of allegations that priests had sexually abused children.

Judge Yvonne Murphy's Commission found that over a nine-year period, he played a leading role in concealing the majority of serious complaints from the gardaí, stymieing the Irish church's policy of mandatory reporting.

In a letter to ‘The Irish Catholic’ newspaper, the Monsignor objects to the requirement to report allegations against seriously - and even terminally - ill priests and accepts he should have resigned as child protection delegate.

In a statement, Archbishop Dermot Clifford, agrees that he should have resigned on principle.

He quotes the Murphy Commission's view that the implementation of Church guidelines does 'not ....preclude a pastoral response' but that the care of souls 'does not provide for a proper investigation of complaints.... by State or Church authorities.'

The Archbishop asked the retired Monsignor to stop commenting in public on the controversy as more statements would only cause further distress and hurt to survivors of abuse and their families.