The Bishop of Clonfert, John Kirby, has denied claims made by the Irish Times newspaper that he knowingly moved a priest to another parish after sex abuse claims were brought against him.

On Monday, the Irish Times reported that the priest, who was sentenced to 10 years’
imprisonment in 1994 for the sexual abuse of one child inCo Galway, told Bishop Kirby in the mid-1990s that he had abused 17 children in the diocese.

The report states: “The Irish Times has independently verified that Bishop Kirby was aware of this information.”

Responding to the claims, Bishop Kirby said: "Contrary to what is stated in today's Irish Times, I am not aware of an acknowledgement by 'Priest A' that he abused any child subsequent to October 1990, the date when I first learned of his sexual abuse of a child."

The bishop said he has not received any complaints that 'Priest A' has abused a child in either of the parishes he has been transferred to.

He said: "I have neither knowledge nor suspicion that 'Priest A' abused a child in either of the parishes of Kiltormer or Creagh subsequent to October 1990.

"I regret that this again could serve to exacerbate the hurt which my earlier widely publicised remarks have caused to victims of child sexual abuse and to their families," he said.

Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime radio program, Irish Times journalist Patsy McGarry said he was standing by his story.

"We are confident about the story, and we stand over the story", he said.