In a brief statement last night, Dr Clifford said he had informed the governing body of Catholic Church teaching on stem-cell research "and reiterated that human life is sacred from the moment of conception until death".
He said he believed that "it is wrong to conduct research on embryonic stem cells and such research should be prohibited by law. It is contrary to the ethical and moral teaching of the Catholic Church because it is contrary to the common good."
The Pro-Life Campaign has accused the UCC governing body of gross misrepresentation and hypocrisy, while Senator Ronán Mullen said the decision was "irresponsible" and "to be deplored".
Dr Audrey Dillon of the Pro-Life Campaign said it was "a gross misrepresentation for UCC to claim it has found an 'ethical solution' to embryo research that does not involve destroying human life".
She added: "Under the UCC proposal, human embryos are destroyed somewhere else. The university imports the stem cells to use in their research, hypocritically denying their complicity in the killing that produced them."
Dr Dillon said: "The onset of induced pluripotent stem cells [iPS] offers the prospect of a win-win solution, where science and ethics can successfully coexist. Shamefully, UCC has chosen to ignore these possibilities and opted for a socially divisive stance.
"It has absolutely no authority to speak for the Irish people on such sensitive matters. Clearly, it is the preserve of the legislature and electorate to decide these issues," Dr Dillon said.
Mr Mullen said the UCC decision was "to be deplored". It was "wrong in principle and unnecessary in practice".
He said it was "now crucial to bring forward legislation to prohibit embryo-destructive research or any research which derives or benefits from the destruction of human embryos. Such legislation should also prohibit the creation of, or research on, animal-human hybrids."
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