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Sunday 24 September 2023 Dublin: 17°C
RTE Dolores Atwood, outside court today
# mission to prey
"I am very pleased that RTE was able to believe me" - woman at centre of defamation action
Former archbishop Richard Burke, who said RTÉ wrongly called him a paedophile, has settled his case

Updated 21.38

DOLORES ATWOOD, THE woman at the centre of former archbishop Richard Burke’s defamation action against RTÉ has said that she is “very happy” with the judgement.

Earlier the case was settled, although RTÉ confirmed that they had paid no damages in the settlement.

Burke had taken the case alleging he had been defamed by a Prime Time Investigates programme entitled Mission to Prey.

The 2011 programme wrongly branded him a paedophile, Burke claimed.

“I am very happy and I like the judgement,” Atwood said outside court.

I’m happy that I was able to come from Canada to Ireland to testify, and I am very pleased RTÉ was able to believe me and stand by me in all this. I’m really glad the truth finally came out. I am very, very happy.

 When asked whether or not she can now put the case behind her Atwood said it will “take time”.

It will take time, because of the way he described me, what he said about me that was not true. That was sad, you know, but I am happy the truth finally is out there.

The court heard evidence from Atwood, who claimed she had been abused by Burke in her native Nigeria when she was 13 or 14. Burke claimed they had consensual sex when she was 20.

Richard Burke Court Cases Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland Former archbishop Richard Burke Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

RTÉ argued that they believed Atwood’s testimony, but accepted that the programme had wrongly said that Burke declined to be interviewed.

Both sides today agreed that the matter is resolved. Though no specifics were given, RTÉ confirmed that it had not paid damages but had made a contribution to Burke’s costs.

“We are very grateful to Dolores for coming over here, it was very difficult for her to come over here and speak truthfully,” said Kevin Bakhurst, Deputy Director General of RTÉ, outside court.

In a statement, the broadcaster said it considers the matter over.

“RTÉ accepts it incorrectly stated in the programme that Richard Burke had declined to be interviewed for the programme and for this RTÉ apologises.

“RTÉ acknowledges that Richard Burke has consistently and vehemently denied these allegations, and has done so throughout his evidence at this hearing.

Dolores Atwood stands over her allegations, and RTÉ considers her to be a sincere and honourable person.

“Richard Burke and RTÉ agree this matter is now closed.”

Originally published at 12.24pm

Read: Michael Lyster: ‘I would be dead if I hadn’t left my phone in the car’

Read: In full: The BAI report into RTÉ’s Mission to Prey programme

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