The priest responsible for ensuring child protection in the Diocese of Cloyne who gave an alleged paedophile cleric access to confidential complaints made against him resigned yesterday.

Last week it emerged that Fr Bill Bermingham, who is child-protection delegate in the Diocese of Cloyne, had made allegations of sexual abuse by a woman available to a priest whom she accused of abusing her as a young girl in the 1980s.

On Friday evening, Fr Bermingham said he believed his actions in making unsigned notes of an interview with the complainant available to the accused priest were consistent with church and state guidelines.

But in a statement yesterday he said it was "vital that any person occupying the role of designated officer/delegate within the church should have the complete confidence of victims of child sexual abuse and of persons wishing to report abuse".

He added that his handling of the case had served to undermine that confidence despite his "best intentions".

"For this reason and in the interests of those who have been offended against… I have asked Archbishop Dermot Clifford to relieve me of the role of designated officer/delegate in the Diocese of Cloyne," he added. Archbishop Clifford confirmed yesterday that Fr Bermingham had resigned from his position. He thanked him for his "unstinting and selfless commitment which he has given to this role on behalf of the diocese during a very painful period".

The woman who made the allegations said she had been put in touch with Fr Bermingham after she contacted the church's helpline. She agreed to meet Fr Bermingham and said he claimed he was taking notes of the interview for his own reference. However, gardaí informed her last February that Fr Bermingham told them he had forwarded the allegations to the accused priest.