THE BROADCASTING AUTHORITY of Ireland has said that it is forwarding to RTÉ the findings of an investigation into how Fr Kevin Reynolds was defamed by a Prime Time Investigates programme.
The BAI said that it had met today to discuss the findings by its Compliance Committee and was now giving a copy of the report to RTÉ. It said it had notified RTÉ of its decision on the matter but wouldn’t be commenting any further for the moment.
The national broadcaster has 14 days to respond to the committee’s findings. It may face fines of up to €250,000 under the Broadcasting Act 2009 if the findings outline any breach of its responsibilities under the Act.
An RTÉ spokesperson this evening told TheJournal.ie that it could not make any comment until it had physically received a copy of the BAI’s findings.
The BAI Compliance Committee met on 13 March to consider its findings on the PTI programme, ‘Mission to Prey’, which was broadcast on 23 May last year, before passing it on to the Board.
It had been alleged in the programme that Fr Reynolds had had a fathered a child with a teenage girl while working as a missionary in Kenya in the 1980s. RTÉ apologised for the allegations in October of last year, saying that they were “baseless, without any foundation whatever and untrue”. Fr Reynolds is now serving as a priest in Ahascragh, Co Galway.
RTÉ paid “undisclosed” damages to him last November in the High Court – but Kevin Dawson, RTÉ’s head of Corporate Communications said that the amount was in the region of “seven figures”.