Friday 30 September 2016

Broadcaster says no damages paid to Burke

Tim Healy

Published 03/07/2015 | 02:30

Former Archbishop of Benin, Richard Burke, leaving the Four Courts yesterday.
Former Archbishop of Benin, Richard Burke, leaving the Four Courts yesterday.

Former Catholic Archbishop Richard Burke has settled his High Court defamation action against RTÉ.

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It was over the 2011 'Prime Time Investigates: Mission to Prey' programme, in which he claimed he was wrongly depicted as a paedophile.

RTÉ deputy Director General Kevin Bakhurst insisted afterwards it had paid "no damages whatsoever" to Mr Burke under the settlement but had made a "contribution" to his costs.

Speaking outside court, Mr Burke's solicitor Robert Dore said his client was a "man of truth" who has "consistently and vehemently" denied allegations he had underage sex with Dolores Atwood.

The settlement meant Mr Burke had "no exposure to costs", the statement added.

Mr Burke (66), a native of Co Tipperary, was ordained a priest of the Kiltegan Fathers in 1975 and afterwards served as a priest, bishop and archbishop in Nigeria until he resigned as Archbishop of Benin city in May 2010 over failure to adhere to his vow of celibacy.

In his proceedings, he alleged the programme wrongly presented him as a paedophile who sexually abused Ms Atwood when she was 13 and had sex with her when she was 14. He said the first time he had sex with Ms Atwood was when she was 20 and he was 40.

RTÉ denied it defamed Mr Burke and pleaded the programme did not mean he was a paedophile.

It pleaded the programme meant he sexually molested Ms Atwood when she was 13 and had sex with her at 14 and said it stood over those claims.

Irish Independent

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