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Irish MPs lambast Vatican over bishop ruling

The Vatican encouraged Catholic bishops not to tell police about suspected paedophile priests and flouted Irish law, lawmakers declared yesterday in an unprecedented denunciation of the Holy See's influence in Ireland.

The government and all opposition parties unanimously backed a motion accusing the Vatican of sabotaging the Irish bishops' 1996 decision to begin reporting suspected cases of child abuse to police.

"This is not Rome. This is the Republic of Ireland 2011, a republic of laws," the Irish Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, told lawmakers. In a direct challenge to the Vatican, Mr Kenny denounced what he called "the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism – and the narcissism – that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day."

Yesterday marked the first time thatthe Irish parliament has lambasted the Vatican, rather than local church leaders, over the past 17 years of paedophile-priest scandals in Ireland.