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Priest welcomed home after apology over false rape allegations

Parishioners were “delighted” at the vindication of Fr Kevin Reynolds, a local councillor has told TheJournal.ie.

Image: fradaveccs via Flickr

A PRIEST WHO was the subject of false allegations that he raped a teenage girl in Kenya has been welcomed back to his parish – preaching his first Mass in several months this morning.

Fr Kevin Reynolds today addressed parishioners in Ahascragh, Co Galway, where he had been the parish priest before being forced to stand down earlier this year. An RTÉ Prime Time Investigates programme broadcast in May alleged that Fr Reynolds had fathered a child with the girl while working as a missionary in Africa during the 1980s.

RTÉ has since unreservedly apologised for the allegations, which it said “ought never to have been broadcast” and were “baseless, without any foundation whatever and untrue”.

Local councillor Michael Mullins told TheJournal.ie that Fr Reynolds had been welcomed back by residents, who were “delighted” at his vindication. Mr Mullins said:

He was a very popular man, and he got a lot of work done in the parish and the church , so there was huge support and sympathy for him. Nobody believed the original story, so when RTÉ apologised there was tremendous relief and support.

He added that he had known Fr Reynolds personally, saying: “I had great time for him. He was a gentleman and a really genuine person to deal with. I’m absolutely delighted and thrilled that he has been vindicated.”

The Sunday Times this morning reported that Fr Reynolds is continuing his High Court action against the State broadcaster, despite the apology.

Read more: RTÉ apologises over false allegations made against Fr Kevin Reynolds>

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Michael Freeman

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