The head of Ireland’s Catholic Church “should consider his position”, Martin McGuinness has said.
As a priest in 1975 Cardinal Sean Brady was at meetings where children signed vows of silence over complaints against paedophile priest Fr Brendan Smyth.
The Northern Ireland deputy first minister questioned how many other children were asked to stay silent.
He said many Catholics shared his “great sense of unease at what we’ve learned over the last couple of days”.
Green Party leader John Gormley said Cardinal Brady should examine his conscience, describing it as “a case of evil triumphing while a good man stood back from a situation”.
The Irish environment minister said it was “a deeply regrettable situation”.
“I suppose it is a matter for the Church authorities themselves and Cardinal Brady and his own conscience. He will have to deal with that,” he said.
Mr Gormley said it was very clear none of those involved in the inquiry had reported matters to police and an “evil character” like Smyth was able to continue his abuse for many years.
Smyth was at the centre of one of the first paedophile priest scandals to rock the Catholic Church in Ireland.
The Northern Ireland-born cleric was eventually convicted of dozens of offences against children over a 40-year period.
But despite allegations being previously investigated by church officials, including the current Irish primate, Sean Brady, as far back as 1975, it was almost 20 years before he was jailed.
On Tuesday, the Catholic Church in Ireland released more details about why Cardinal Brady asked the two victims, aged 10 and 14, to sign secrecy agreements.
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