A number of abuse survivors have expressed disappointment with the Pope’s speech at Dublin Castle, saying it was a missed opportunity to acknowledge the Vatican's cover-up of child abuse.

Survivor Colm O'Gorman has said he wanted to see Pope Francis take responsibility for clerical sex abuse and its cover-up.

Speaking after the Pontiff’s speech, Mr O’Gorman called his remarks a staggering effort at deflection that failed to acknowledge the Vatican's role in covering-up the crimes.

"It was quite shocking actually in some ways," he said.

Mr O’Gorman said Pope Francis was speaking at a state event that was an opportunity for him to step out of his sacramental role and speak directly to the people of Ireland.    

"What we want to see I think is a frank acknowledgement of the truth, of his institution and his state's cover-up of the crimes of rape and abuse perpetrated against hundreds of thousands of people in this country and to own that and take responsibility for that," he said.

Anything less than that, he said, would be an "inexcusable avoidance of the truth".

Pope Francis said the failure by the Catholic Church to address the abuse of young people remains a source of pain and shame.

The pontiff has said that he could not fail to acknowledge this grave scandal.

A survivors' group described the Pope's speech as a missed opportunity, saying he failed to announce any "tangible changes in Vatican law or policy that would tackle the sex offenders and their protectors in a meaningful way".

One in Four Executive Director Maeve Lewis said: "Survivors are weary of apologies that are not followed up with real action.

"How hard would it be for the Pope to announce a policy of mandatory reporting of all allegations to the civil authorities across the world?

"How hard would it be to accept the recommendation of his own Commission on the Protection of Minors to establish a special Council charged with dealing with all bishops and cardinals who shield and protect clerical sex offenders?

"It is a great credit to the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, that in his speech today he acknowledged the role of the Irish State in colluding with the Catholic Church in the abuse of women and children and he was wholly unequivocal in calling for zero tolerance of child sexual abuse.

"What a missed opportunity for the Pope to do the same."

A global group called "ending clergy abuse" also said the Pope missed an opportunity to address clerical sexual abuse.

The group claim the Pope should have used the visit to announce a change in canon law.

It also said the Pontiff could have said there will be zero tolerance for the cover up of sexual abuse.

The group held a press conference in Ballsbridge in Dublin this evening.

Pete Saunders, a survivor of sex abuse, said there is still time on this trip for a "miraculous turnaround" by the Pontiff.

Tom Doyle, a Dominican priest from the US, said the issue of clerical sex abuse is a "worldwide plague".

He said the Pope said "nothing new" today and he was "disappointed".

The group praised the comments by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar today.

Minister for Health Simon Harris was reluctant to critique the Pontiff's speech until he has met the survivors, although he expressed his satisfaction with the speech of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin acknowledged that Pope Francis was very clear in his condemnation of clerical abuse.

However, he would have "appreciated a greater focus on the actions to follow".

Mr Martin also said the Government could not shirk its own responsibility when it came to the survivors of abuse, citing the case of Louise O'Keeffe.

It is understood that Katherine Zappone spoke to the Pope in Italian this morning and the topic related to her role as Minister for Children.

Ms Zappone said she will not release the details of her conversation with Pope Francis until Monday.