Irish police have known about the role played by Cardinal Brady in the 1975 investigation into Fr. Brendan Smyth for years, it has been revealed.

Fr. Brendan Smyth was the notorious pedophile that abused scores of children as a priest in Ireland.

However, police detectives never deemed it necessary to charge Brady and some of his colleagues with attempting to cover up the child abuse.

Cardinal Brady's colleagues were unaware of his involvement in the Smyth case up until last weekend.

The bishops were also unaware of a court case taken against the Cardinal by a woman that was abused by Smyth.

In 1975 Brady was asked to lead an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse against Smyth.

The women in question was interviewed by Brady and asked to take an oath of silence. Brady never passed on any information to the police and Smyth was consequently banned from taking confessions.

The woman who wishes to be only know as "Samantha" told the Irish Times that two other schoolgirls that were abused by Smyth at the same time had committed suicide.

 “I was raped, abused and had pictures taken of my body. I was 13 when it began in 1974 and it went on for five years. If he [Cardinal Brady] had done something my life would have been so different," said the woman.

Yesterday Brady said he would resign from his position if asked to do so by the pope. Brady told the BBC that he did all he could by 1975 standards.

 “I really played my part, the part I had 35 years ago as priest- recording secretary, to the best of my ability.

"We are now judging the behavior of 35 years ago by the standards we set today and I don’t think that’s fair, it does not apply to other sectors of society,” said Brady.

"There should be a Garda (police) investigation to determine whether or not the failure to report Fr Smyth’s crimes to the civil authorities was, itself, a criminal offense,” said Labour party spokesperson on Social and Family Affairs Roisin Shortall.

“I am advised that the administering of an oath requiring these children not to disclose the abuse to anyone else may also have constituted an offense.”

Victim support groups have called on the Cardinal to resign from office.

“One does not need to be a learned theologian or an ordained priest to appreciate how grievously wrong it is to silence young children in order to protect a sex offender," said One in Four director Maeve Lewis.

Lewis accused the Cardinal of "reckless endangerment" and called on him to resign.

Ireland has a total of 23 bishops, and 22 of them have refused to comment on the issue.

Bishop of Clogher Joseph Duffy gave Brady his full support and said he should not resign from office.

Cardinal Brady did not tell the Pope of his involvement in the Smyth case.