A prominent priest said today that he believes Cardinal Sean Brady was willing to offer his resignation two years ago, but the Vatican refused.
Father Brian D'Arcy said that if he was in Cardinal Sean Brady's position now, he would find it difficult to continue - and has called on him to reflect.
It follows allegations in a BBC documentary that information on victims of Fr Brendan Smyth was given to a Church investigation, but was not passed on to parents or civil authorities by Cardinal Brady, who was then a priest.
Cardinal Brady says he was a notetaker in that inquiry and had no authority over Fr Smyth.
Fr D'Arcy said that the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland can't simply step down and he believes Cardinal Brady may have tried in the past.
"Actually he would have to offer his resignation and if the Vatican didn't take it, he'd be back to square one," he said.
"In fact, some people think that it was happened two years ago, but the Vatican said no.
"The way I would put it is that I think Sean Brady would have been willing to resign, but didn't."