THE COMMUNICATIONS CLINIC was hired by the Irish Missionaries Union ahead of the broadcast of the controversial Mission to Prey programme which libelled Fr Kevin Reynolds last May but the PR firm has said that Tom Savage – one of its directors and the chairman of the RTÉ board – knew nothing of the account.
Another of the company’s directors, Terry Prone, told TheJournal.ie that Savage would have known nothing of the IMU contract because of client confidentiality.
Earlier today, Broadsheet.ie put together a timeline of events which highlighted that Savage, who is married to Prone, claimed he did not find out about the legal troubles over Mission to Prey until September 2011 – three months after Fr Reynolds started his legal challenge and four months after his own company was employed by the IMU to deal with the fallout.
An IMU document entitled Strategic Plan 2011-2014 which was published on May 16 – six days before the broadcast – shows how the organisation planned for the episode of Prime Time Investigates which defamed the priest.
At the time, the Sunday Business Post revealed that the Communications Clinic was hired by the IMU to “manage the fallout from an RTÉ Prime Time documentary, to be screened this week, about allegations of sexual abuse by Irish priests in Africa”.
Savage told an Oireachtas committee last week that there was no clash of conflict from him being on the board of RTÉ and working for the Communications Clinic. He also said that that he was not aware of any issues arising from the programme until a meeting in September 2011.
A number of politicians have called for Savage to resign from the board with TD Mattie McGrath calling his position ‘untenable’ and Senator John Whelan accusing him of ‘spin doctoring’.