Speculation is mounting that Pope Benedict may seek the resignation of Cardinal Sean Brady as the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland as another Irish bishop admits he failed to handle a sex abuse case properly.

This comes amid fresh scandal in Ireland, with the Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, Dr William Lee, admitting he managed a sex abuse allegation case in the 1990s in a “seriously inadequate” fashion.

Lee waited two years before divulging the information he had about the priest to the relevant authorities.

"I particularly regretted that I had not sought the immediate withdrawal of the priest from all ministry and that others associated with the new ministry were not informed that allegations had been made. I set about initiating a full review of the case," Lee said in a statement.

Bishop John Magee, 73, stepped down in March last year after an independent report found that his diocese put children at risk.

The Belfast Telegraph newspaper is reporting that Brady, who has become embroiled in a sex abuse scandal, may well be next.

Rumors are rampant that the Pope will ask Brady to resign after it was confirmed yesterday that Pope Benedict has accepted the resignation of the disgraced Bishop of Cloyne.

He is a former private secretary to three popes.

The Pope only accepted his resignation yesterday, thus prompting speculation that Pope Benedict would now seek Brady's resignation as well.

Talk within the Vatican walls is that an Australian prelate is to head an investigation into the Irish Church, due to begin in April.

Cardinal George Pell, the 68-year-old Archbishop of Sydney, has headed similar investigations in dioceses in his native Australia.

A possible outcome of the Apostolic Visitation, which Pope Benedict announced last Saturday, is that Pell may propose Brady's resignation or removal.

Brady said last week he was "ashamed" that he swore two victims of clerical sexual abuse to secrecy after they reveled that they were abused by notorious pedophile priest Brendan Smyth.

However, the Cardinal insisted he was not stepping down unless asked to by the Pope. He said he will take until May 23, Pentecost Sunday, to reflect and consult with colleagues and then he will announce his affirmed decision.

Pope Benedict, meanwhile, has not yet accepted the resignations of three bishops criticized in last November's shocking Murphy report into abuse cover-ups in the archdiocese of Dublin. He is expected to shortly.