The Association of Catholic Priests has welcomed the lifting of restrictions on an Irish Marist priest who had been ordered to stop writing and commenting in public.

Following publication of the Murphy Report into abuse in the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin in January 2010, Fr Sean Fagan called for all dioceses in the State to be examined.

The writing and comment restrictions were imposed on Fr Fagan by the Rome-based Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Fr Sean McDonagh said the Association of Catholic Priests was absolutely delighted at the decision to remove restrictions.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, he called for the bans on other priests, including outspoken Redemptorist Fr Tony Flannery, to also be lifted.

Fr McDonagh said Fr Fagan is a theologian, and a very committed and competent priest.

He said: "He was not afraid to look at some of the really difficult issues that Christians and Catholics have been wrestling with for the last 30 years, and they're now things that Pope Francis is actually wrestling with.

"The way he was treated was absolutely diabolical and we'd like to see that never happen again to a Catholic priest."

Fr McDonagh likened the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to the medieval Spanish Inquisition in its treatment of some priests.

He called on Irish bishops to set up a process whereby complaints against priests could be dealt with in this country.