Ireland denounces Vatican role in abuse cover-ups

By the Associated Press | July 20, 2011 | 10:30 AM EDT

DUBLIN (AP) — Ireland's lawmakers have united to denounce the Vatican after an investigation found that Catholic leaders in Rome undermined Irish efforts to report child-abusing priests to police.

Prime Minister Enda Kenny says the Vatican must accept responsibility after investigators found that the Vatican in 1997 secretly dismissed the Irish church's new child-protection policies. These required police to be notified of all suspected cases of sexual abuse for the first time.

The Irish investigation found that Catholic officials were still concealing evidence from police in 2008. It cited a Vatican letter to Irish bishops as influential.

Government and opposition parties all backed a motion Wednesday saying the Irish parliament "deplores the Vatican's intervention."