Ireland’s most powerful Catholic leader has slammed abortion and euthanasia in his annual Easter address.

Cardinal Sean Brady has used his traditional message to urge Catholics and ‘all people of goodwill across Ireland’ to oppose abortion and euthanasia.

The Irish Independent reports that the Catholic primate utilized his Easter message to maintain pressure on the authorities over the pro-life issue.

His message was very similar in tone to an address issued at Christmas.

Cardinal Brady said: “I ask all people of goodwill across Ireland to celebrate and cherish the gift of human life in all its stages from conception to its natural end.

“There is no more important value than upholding the right to life in all circumstances.”

The report adds that Cardinal Brady also acknowledged the financial sufferings of families in the ongoing recession.

The Cardinal also referred to the appointment of a new Pope in Rome.

He said: “This Easter is a time of great excitement because of the new Pope. I was privileged to be in Rome during the last days of the papacy of Pope Benedict and the beginning of the papacy of Pope Francis.

“the Pope, in his first homily, spoke of the importance of keeping Christ in the centre of our lives and following him on the way of the Cross, noting that this would not always be easy.

“The Pope’s inspiring words of humility has been supported by his actions – such as the joyful embrace of a man with a disability, and the moving scenes of the Pope washing and kissing the feet of 12 young people in a prison.

“These are all reminiscent of scenes in the Gospels. The example given by the Pope presents a challenge to each of us to reach out to those in need.”