A synod in the Diocese of Limerick has heard how the Catholic Church needs to apologise to women to end centuries of treating them as second class citizens.

The synod is the first to be held in Ireland for over 50 years.

More than 6,000 people from 60 parishes were consulted over the past two years about the issues they believe are important and which must change if the church is to survive.

One of the strongest desires among parishioners was for equality for women in leadership roles.

The 400 delegates at this synod - 300 of them lay people and many of the women - heard that this synod is determined to start the process of change.

Over 100 proposals to create a more unified, inclusive and accessible church were voted on at the three-day event.

Some 97 of the 100 proposals were approved across six themes covering a wide range of issues, from dealing with hurt in the church to enhancing its faith formation, hospitality and welcome.

Bishop Brendan Leahy, who called the synod back in September 2014, said that the synod marks a moment in the history of the diocese and a new beginning.

"We have been on an incredible journey over the past 18 months and started this because we wanted to hear from the people exactly what they are concerned about and what we can do in the future to improve our church and how it serves the people.

"The great thing about it is that it has been a people-led journey. The people decided what would be on the agenda and the people voted."