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BAI rejects complaint made over presenter Ray D'Arcy linking Angelus to child sex abuse

The complainant argued that D’Arcy’s view “was a generalised statement against a particular group in society”

Image: RTÉ

A RADIO LISTENER who complained about presenter Ray D’Arcy saying the Angelus bells reminded him of child sexual abuse has had their complaint rejected by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). 

During a 21-minute segment on his show on RTÉ Radio One in November 2018, D’Arcy interviewed RTÉ’s Head of Religious Programming Roger Childs.

During the interview, D’Arcy and Childs discussed the history of the Angelus, which is broadcast at 6pm every evening on RTÉ and has been since 1950. 

“It offends me I have to say,” D’Arcy told Childs. “It offends me.”

This is honest and this is from the heart, that every time I hear it…that I am brought back to child sexual abuse.

During the interview – in which D’Arcy read out texts people sent in about the Angelus – the presenter said “it’s terrible that I make that connection but I do make that connection and it’s a very strong connection and I can’t help myself.”

‘A generalised statement’

The woman who complained to the BAI argued that D’Arcy’s view “was a generalised statement against a particular group in society” and that it infringed the BAI Code of Programme Standards.

Following the complaint, RTÉ responded to the BAI saying that Childs outlined the requirement of the station to ensure they catered for people of all faiths and people of no faith.

Childs also discussed how the national broadcaster had changed the pictures that accompany the ringing of the bells to meet that need.

In its decision, the BAI said that, although D’Arcy expressed his personal view, the Code “is not intended to prevent the critical scrutiny of religion by means of information, drama or other programming.”

Nor did the presenter’s comments “stigmatise, support or condone discrimination against society’s religious beliefs,” it said.

The BAI “did not agree that the programme infringed the requirements of the legislation and Code in the manner specified by the complainant.”

The woman’s complaint was rejected.

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