LORD BROOKEBOROUGH'S comment in the Lords last week that Cardinal Tomas 0 Fiaich is an "evil prelate" has provoked widespread condemnation across the political spectrum.
Cardinal 0 Fiaich quickly responded saying he was "appalled by the personal attack made on me by Lord Brookeborough".
The Cardinal said it was "quite clear" that Lord Brookeborough, son of the former Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, had not listened to his Christmas broadcast "about which he has now proceeded to vilify me".
"My frequent and absolute condemnations of murders of RUC personnel by the IRA over the past decade are a matter of record. The most recent was my explicit condemnation, before several hundred in Armagh Cathedral last Sunday, of the murder in Enniskillen of Constable Crawford."
Lord Brookeborough's attack on Cardinal 0 Fiaich, made in the House of Lords during a debate on the RUC referred to the killing of an RUC member in Co Fermanagh on January 9.
"This happened, My Lords, after that evil prelate, Cardinal 0 Fiaich, supported by the member for South Armagh, (SDLP politician Seamus Mallon), said that Roman Catholics or nationalists should not join the Royal Ulster Constabulary.
"Ten per cent of the Royal Ulster Constabulary are Roman Catholics. These two people are justifying the murder of those 10 per cent by the IRA."
Lord Brookeborough's remarks were criticised by Mr Mallon as "despicable and unwarranted". In an indirect attack, Northern Ireland Minister Nicholas Scott said those in responsible positions in Northern Ireland should exercise the greatest care in what they said. Even the pro-Unionist Belfast News Letter criticised the comments as unjustified and offensive.
Lord Brookeborough's father, who died in 1973, was a staunch Unionist and Prime Minister for 20 years. He once said he would never have a Catholic on his estate and believed in a Protestant Parliament for a Protestant people..