Presidential hopeful Kevin Sharkey has called on the Pope to apologise to the people of Ireland on behalf of the Catholic Church.
He claimed the Irish people were left feeling “adrift” in the wake of the child sex abuse scandals.
Sharkey posted a video online in which he said: “When all the things started to go wrong in the Catholic Church one of the saddest things was people who’d spent an entire life dedicated to the Church, believing in the Church, they felt adrift like a piece of wood in a storm.
“They couldn’t defend the Church because what happened was indefensible, they couldn’t criticise the Church because they felt that was their only connection with God.
“What I saw happening was generations of people who suddenly felt adrift from their beliefs, adrift from their Church, and adrift from an organisation which at this stage needs to stop and reflect on the apology that it owes to the Irish people.
“Let’s say this is the end of making excuses and this is where we take responsibility.”
The 56 year old former TV presenter and artist hopes to become the country’s first black president.
He was born in a mother and baby home and suffered first hand after being adopted and sent to an industrial school in Galway.
Pope Francis will be visiting Ireland in August, as part of the World Meeting of Families in Dublin.
Sharkey told the Irish Mirror: “There comes a time when you need to draw a line in the sand and start from scratch. That time is now.”
Sharkey’s address to the Pope also included the suggestion that the churches across Ireland should be opened up throughout the week for activities for the local communities.
He added that women should be allowed to become priests and that the change should take place sooner rather than later.
Take a look at Sharkey’s broadcast below.