Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has announced that the Papal Legate to the International Eucharistic Congress is to travel to Co Donegal tomorrow on an overnight pilgrimage to the penitential island of Lough Derg.

The visit is regarded by observers as a further gesture of repentance by the Vatican to victims and survivors of child sexual abuse by priests and religious.

Last month, the Primate of All Ireland, Cardinal Seán Brady led a pilgrimage to the island in atonement for the abuse of children by priests and religious.

The Cardinal was accompanied throughout the overnight cycle of prayer by a number of his fellow-bishops from the north of the country.

Approximately 200 lay pilgrims also joined the pilgrimage.

Dr Martin announced that Cardinal Marc Ouellet will begin his journey north following a scheduled morning visit to President Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin.

The Archbishop also revealed that Cardinal Ouellet will travel on Saturday to the Marian Shrine at Knock in County Mayo.

Saturday has been devoted by the Congress to Mary the Mother of God, who is described in the official programme as the “Hearer of the Word” par excellence.

Knock is renowned for attracting pilgrimages by the sick and dying and by their families.

It was Blessed John Paul II’s principle destination during his Papal visit to Ireland in 1979.