The Pope will announce the successor to the head of the Catholic church in Ireland Cardinal Sean Brady today.
The 73-year-old Primate of All Ireland will be replaced by a co-adjutor Archbishop of Armagh, who will have canon law entitlements to succeed Cardinal Brady.
The announcement will be made simultaneously in Rome and Armagh, at 11am Irish time.
Cardinal Brady has come in for criticism after it emerged he carried out an investigation into allegations of child abuse by Father Brendan Smyth in 1975 and swore two alleged victims to secrecy.
Last May he said he would not resign over the affair.
Speculation has centred on Monsignor Eamon Martin, Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Derry, being appointed to the new assistant bishop role in Armagh.
Cardinal Brady, a native of Laragh, Co Cavan, in the Diocese of Kilmore, trained at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth and the Irish College, Rome, where he was ordained in February 1964.
He received a Doctorate in Canon Law at the Lateran University in 1967.
Cardinal Brady was ordained Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh in February 1995 and on the retirement of Cardinal Cahal Daly succeeded as Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland in October 1996.
Pope Benedict XVI announced that Archbishop Brady was to be created a Cardinal in 2007.
He is currently chairman of the Irish Episcopal Conference.
An announcement on the new Coadjutor Bishop for the archdiocese is expected from both the Vatican and Armagh before 11am.
Meanwhile, senior figures in the Catholic Church in Ireland were due to hold talks with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Dublin this afternoon on plans to reform abortion law and school patronage.
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