Mary McAleese blocked from speaking at women's conference in the Vatican

The 'Voices of Faith' conference takes place on March 8th

Mary McAleese blocked from speaking at women's conference in the Vatican

Former Irish President Mary McAleese chairs a public forum concerning the legacy of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, held at St Paul's Church Centre in London | Image: Jonathan Brady/PA Archive/PA Images

Updated: 15.25

Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has said he was not consulted over a decision to exclude former President Mary McAleese from speaking at a conference in the Vatican.

It is reported Mrs McAleese was blocked from speaking at an international conference on women's rights by Irish Cardinal Fr Kevin Farrell.

Archbishop Martin said he first heard that a decision had been made to exclude Mrs McAleese from the former president herself.

The Archdiocese of Dublin said neither Archbishop Martin nor his offices "were consulted by the Vatican in relation to this matter."

"Archbishop Martin has consistently noted that World Meeting of Families, due to take place in Dublin later this year, will be an inclusive event, open to all families and family members", a statement added.

The Irish Times says Dublin-born Cardinal Farrell objected to Mrs McAleese and two other speakers on the programme.

Fr Farrell is the most senior Irish man at the Vatican.

Mrs McAleese was due to address a 'Voices of Faith' conference, which will take place on International Women's Day on March 8th.

The paper says among other speakers barred was Ssenfuka Joanita Warry, a lesbian Catholic woman pioneering LGBT rights in Uganda.

It is believed organisers have now moved the 'Why Women Matter' event to a location outside the Vatican.

The event brings Catholic women from across the globe to share experiences and create dialogue with leaders.

It is organised by the Voices of Faith group, and Mrs McAleese is listed as opening speaker.

In a Facebook post, they say: "A diversity of voices of our faith must be heard if we want a vibrant, prophetic and inclusive church".

In a post for the event itself, they say: "We live in times marked by change, but there are places where gender equality is being systematically overlooked.

"The Catholic Church is one of them.

"Catholic women and men are no longer willing to accept the status quo of their church."