The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, has apologized unreservedly for the cover up of the activities of Anthony Walsh, the defrocked priest and worst pedophile named in the Murphy Commission report on abuse in the Dublin archdiocese.

Walsh was recently sentenced to sixteen years in jail, and the Murphy Commission was finally able to publish its findings on him.

Walsh is said to have abused over 100 children during his reign of terror and his activities were covered up for seventeen years by the archdiocese and the Vatican, who refused to defrock him at one point.

Martin stated that the Walsh story unveiled "the tragic and shocking story of how a devious, predatory pedophile used the priesthood to gain access to young children and abuse them and how no one stopped him for years."

In a statement, Dr Martin said: "The first lesson to be learned from this is that in the cases of serial compulsive pedophiles, only decisive action is capable of stopping them ... Procrastination and indecisiveness are a part of a climate in which pedophiles flourish."

"Abusing a child was and is a crime in civil law, was and is a crime in canon law; it was and is a grievous sin. Any form of sexual interference with a child is non-consensual, abusive and an act of violence. The theology of the time recognised that rape and sexual assault of anybody is wrong. The theology of the time was well aware of compulsive and recidivist sexual activity. It’s difficult to understand that people acted differently when the victims were children."

"I renew the words of apology I expressed in Ballyfermot last Sunday; I apologize unreservedly for the hurt caused and for the way the Church managed these matters."

Dr Martin stated: "The report chronicles a frightening moment in the history of the Church in Dublin. As I have said on other occasions, in many aspects the Church in Ireland had allowed itself to drift into a position where its role in society had grown beyond what is legitimate. It acted as a world apart. It had often become self-centred and arrogant. It felt that it could be forgiving of abusers in a simplistic manner and rarely empathised with the hurt of children. The first step on the road to renewal is for our Church to recognise what went wrong to honestly acknowledge with no ‘buts’ and no conditionality the gravity and the extent of what happened."