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Embattled Irish bishop signals he may stand down over criticism

Embattled Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray last night gave his first public signal that he may leave his post.

The Dublin-born bishop said he might resign -- even if the pastoral bodies from whom he has sought guidance about his record on child protection come out in favour of him staying.

Responding to criticisms of his "inexcusable" handling of a paedophile priest during his time as an auxiliary bishop in Dublin, Bishop Murray said: "In the unlikely event it (the guidance) was entirely positive, I still have my own decision . . . about whether I feel I can be Bishop of Limerick."

"I'm not going to stand up and fight for my job. If I was going to be a divisive figure here, I don't want to stay."

His future decision could be made known in a "couple of weeks", he told the 'Limerick Leader'.

The week-long pressure on Bishop Murray to step down escalated on Tuesday night when Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin publicly voiced his dissatisfaction with the Bishop of Limerick's position and invited him to address abuse survivors directly.

Archbishop Martin has written to Bishop Murray and four other bishops to warn them that their responses to the Murphy Commission are a matter for the people of the Dublin and not their own dioceses.

The archbishop invited Bishop Murray to come forward and face the people where the abuse took place, in Dublin, instead of being hunted or pushed out.

Bishop Murray revealed that he was in touch with the papal nuncio, Archbishop Guiseppe Leanza -- whom he said was "supportive" -- and Cardinal Desmond Connell. He said he received the support of some other Munster bishops and said he would be glad to hear from Archbishop Martin.

Bishop Murray said that, whatever decision he made, he wanted the truth to be heard.

"I have to say I don't think it is fully being heard at the moment," he added

Referring to his handling of Dublin paedophile priest Fr Thomas Naughton, Bishop Murray said his conscience was clear although some things should have been done differently.

But he added: "The chancellery and archbishop were in charge of investigation and I couldn't have gone off on my own. Again, I'm not making excuses."

Meanwhile, the priest at the centre of a child abuse investigation in the diocese of Meath was taken out of ministry over 10 years ago, according to a spokesperson for the Bishop of Meath, Michael Smith.

Belfast Telegraph