The church is demanding a full apology from Irish radio presenter Ray D'Arcy, who told the 245,000 listeners of his Today FM show that "the Catholic Church, in many ways, has f.....up this country."

Now, according to the Irish Independent, the Communications Office of the Irish Bishops is seeking an apology and retractions from the self-proclaimed atheist broadcaster.

Catholic communications chief Martin Long has demanded that the station and D'Arcy retract the "insulting" and "offensive" comment on air on Monday.

The presenter made the controversial comments during a regular segment where he reviews the morning newspapers. At the time, he was reviewing coverage of a Dail speech made by Mayo Fine Gael TD Michelle Mulherin who described "fornication" as the biggest cause of unwanted pregnancy.

Producer Will Hanafin said that D'Arcy apologized later during Friday's morning program for using the "F-word in the heat of the moment."

In a letter to station bosses, Mr Long said: "Mr D'Arcy's statement is grossly offensive and factually inaccurate. All those who hold the Catholic faith dear are deeply insulted by this appalling language.

"By any objective or subjective measure, lay and religious members of the Catholic Church have and continue to contribute to the common good of our society, particularly in the areas of poverty, social justice, health and education.

"In addition, it is shocking to hear such language on a national radio station at 9.15 on a school-day morning. I ask that an apology and a retraction be broadcast by the presenter at an equivalent time the next time the programme is broadcast, on Monday, 23 April."

Hanafin said the complaint would be discussed at a  pre-program meeting on Monday morning.

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