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Ireland's Roman Catholic leader, criticized over sex abuse scandals, to be replaced by 2014

The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland says its longtime leader, Cardinal Sean Brady, will be replaced by 2014.

Brady told a news conference Friday he welcomes the Vatican's appointment of an aide and eventual successor, Monsignor Eamon Martin.

The 73-year-old Brady has been the Catholic primate of Ireland since 1996. He has been sharply criticized for his handling of child abuse scandals exposed in the Irish church since the mid-1990s.

In 2010 Brady refused calls to resign after he admitted that, in 1975, he took testimony from two boys who had been abused by a pedophile priest, then swore both to secrecy. Brady apologized, but said he was following orders from superiors.

The 51-year-old Martin is expected to succeed Brady as primate next year.