Pope Benedict XVI is holding meetings with 24 Irish Catholic bishops on the subject of child sex abuse this weekend and early next week.

In what may be the first gathering of its kind, the Pope will speak at the Vatican with senior figures of the Catholic church and the  Conference of Irish Bishops about the problem of child sex abuse by clergy, the Irish Times reported.

The discussions follow the publication of the Ryan report on child abuse in May 2009 and the Murphy report on sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Dublin in November.

Bishop Donal Murray, who resigned as Bishop of Limerick, and Bishop John Magee, who lost his position as Bishop of Cloyne, will not attend, according to the Irish Times.

But Jim Moriarty, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, will be present, although he offered his resignation to the pope in December. Pope Benedict has yet to accept his resignation.

In 2002 Pope John Paul II held a similar meeting with US cardinals following reports of clerical sex abuse in the US, but he did not invite the full Conference of American Catholic Bishops.

Pope Benedict XVI will hold meetings with Irish bishops next week.