The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin has confirmed a boycott of Ireland's main seminary amid allegations trainee priests there are using gay dating app Grindr.
Dr Diarmuid Martin, the most senior Catholic in the Irish Republic, said he was unhappy about a "growing atmosphere" at St Patrick's College in Maynooth that had been exposed through anonymous accusations in letters and online blogs.
There are allegations on different sides. One is that there is a homosexual, a gay culture, that students have been using an app called Grindr, which is a gay dating app, which would be inappropriate for seminarians, not just because they are trained to be celibate priests, but because an app like that is something which would be fostering promiscuous sexuality, which is certainly not in any way the mature vision of sexuality one would expect a priest to understand.
Dr Martin said he had decided to send student priests to Rome amid further allegations that whistleblowers trying to bring claimed wrongdoing to the attention of authorities were being dismissed from the seminary.
"I thought a quarrelsome attitude of that kind was not the healthiest place for my students to be, and I decided to send them to the Irish [Pontifical] College [in Rome]," he told State broadcaster RTE.
Dr Martin said a "whole series of anonymous allegations" were being circulated about goings-on at the Maynooth seminary, and it was impossible to fairly investigate and carry out due process while those making claims remained anonymous.
The Archbishop said efforts to recruit an independent party to deal with complaints from whistleblowers were met with "simply more anonymous letters".
He maintained that authorities at Maynooth needed to find a way that people could come forward with "solid, hard evidence".
Dr Martin also criticised the "comfortable" regime at the seminary, adding: "The people have their breakfast, dinner and tea served up to them."
St Patrick's College in Maynooth was founded in 1795 and was once the largest seminary in the world.
It was built to train 500 Catholic priests every year, but numbers have dwindled to about 60 in recent years following a fall in vocations.