Thursday 19 January 2017

RTE acted shamefully towards Fr Reynolds

Having disgracefully defamed an innocent man, it then could not even apologise properly, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

Published 20/11/2011 | 05:00

The apology to Fr Kevin Reynolds which was read out between the Nine O'Clock News and Prime Time last Thursday was a blink and miss it affair, which scarcely scratched the surface of the dreadful wrong which RTE had done to this man.

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All journalists make mistakes. None of us has an unblemished record. But even by the standards of media legal cases, what was said about Fr Reynolds in A Mission To Prey last May was staggering stuff, as it was put directly to him that he had sexually abused a teenage girl whilst a missionary in Africa in 1982, that the victim had fallen pregnant and that he had subsequently abandoned victim and child alike.

Fr Reynolds denied the allegations with every ounce of strength and outrage that he could muster, but RTE ignored all the warnings and went ahead with the broadcast anyway. Even when he offered to take a blood test to prove that he could not be the father of this child (the test was subsequently taken and cleared his name), RTE continued to stand by its story on public-interest grounds and actually claimed to have third-party proof.

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