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RTÉ suspends next season of Prime Time Investigates after Fr Reynolds case

The broadcaster reached a settlement with Fr Kevin Reynolds after libelling him in a Prime Times Investigates programme earlier this year.

Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

RTÉ’S DIRECTOR GENERAL Noel Curran has announced that the broadcaster is suspending the next season of its Prime Time Investigates programme until all of its sources have been fully examined.

The move comes in the wake of a settlement between RTÉ and a priest the programme libelled.

Earlier today, the government agreed to launch an independent inquiry into how RTÉ broadcast the programme containing the libellous statements faslely accusing Fr Kevin Reynolds of rape while serving as a missionary in Kenya in the 1980s.

The programme was broadcast in May 2011.

Reynolds launched legal action against RTÉ, and the two reached a settlement in the High Court. The broadcaster has said it is unable to disclose the details of the settlement as it is bound by a confidentiality agreement.

RTÉ has apologised to Reynolds and accepted that the allegations were baseless.

The lawyer who represented Reynolds, Robert Dore, has said he wants to know who the source of the Prime Time Investigates allegations was and that Reynolds has a right to know.

Speaking on RTÉ this evening, Minister Rabbitte said that while “we all make mistakes”, it was important to reassure the public through an inquiry into the RTÉ programme.

Noel Curran said that anything which restores trust in RTÉ’s current affairs output is important and it will cooperate fully with the BAI inquiry. “This is one of the greatest editorial mistakes that ever happened at RTÉ,” he said, adding that the broadcaster had a great reputation in its news and current affairs programming.

Curran said he believed it is important for an independent expert to ascertain if this was a one-off problem or if there was a systemic issue at play.

He said that the next series of programme has been deferred until further checks can be carried out on the processes involved in the programme’s production.

Read: Government announces inquiry into RTE programme on Kevin Reynolds >

Read: RTÉ says it cannot disclose Fr Reynolds settlement details >

Read: Catholic priests group accuses RTÉ of insincerity over Fr Reynolds apology >

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