Pressure is mounting on Cardinal Sean Brady to resign as Primate of All-Ireland – with the country’s top theologian joining the call to quit.

Fr Vincent Twomey told Irish television that Brady has lost the confidence of his flock after failing to report Fr Brendan Smyth’s abuse to the authorities after a 1975 investigation.

The theologian is the retired Professor of Moral Theology at Maynooth University and widely regarded as the leading religious authority in Ireland.

A conservative Catholic, Twomey’s observation that Brady has lost his moral authority and ‘should resign’ is a damning verdict the most recent revelations about his involvement in the Smyth case.

The retired Professor told the Prime Time programme on RTE 1 that there are issues which the church must address about Cardinal Brady’s failure to alert parents to other victims of paedophile priest Brendan Smyth.

“For the good of the church, it is really tragic, but I’m afraid I am of the opinion that he should resign,” said Fr Twomey.

His remarks follow claims in the Irish Independent newspaper that Cardinal Brady was willing to resign over the Brendan Smyth affair two years ago.

The paper says the Vatican refused because it had “no idea” who to replace him with, according to church sources.