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Monday 27 January 2020

Defamed priest denied access to report on RTE

Colm Kelpie

THE defamed priest at the centre of the 'Prime Time Investigates' controversy has been told that he will not get a copy of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland's (BAI) report on the matter while RTE is studying it.

The state broadcaster received the report yesterday and has until April 20 to respond, before the BAI meets to determine its publication.

Although the BAI said the report was likely to be fully published, parts of it may be either redacted or blacked out. But the authority could not say at this stage if this would happen.

Fr Kevin Reynolds's solicitor, Robert Dore, wrote to the BAI and requested a copy of the report before it was put into the public domain.

But the BAI said yesterday that it could not be given to Fr Reynolds as RTE had yet to respond. It pointed out that the priest had not made a complaint to the BAI, nor was he involved in the investigation.

"The BAI can't give it before the process is complete," a spokeswoman said.

It is also understood that RTE does not intend to give Fr Reynolds a copy of the report on the basis that the decision lies with the BAI.

The report was delivered yesterday to RTE's director general Noel Curran by courier. Copies were not sent to any other individuals involved in the controversy.

It is understood that while RTE bosses wish to deal with the findings quickly, they are likely take the full time allocated by the BAI before issuing their response.

Controversy

The BAI yesterday reiterated its view that the report should be published in full, but said the final decision had not yet been taken by its nine-member authority.

"A meeting has to take place about the publication of the report. . . about when the report will be published, how much of it will be published, if all of it will be published, if all of it won't," a spokeswoman said.

Earlier this week the state broadcaster announced major changes in its current affairs programming, after head of news Ed Mulhall announced his retirement and the editor of current affairs Ken O'Shea stepped down from his post over the controversy.

It is understood that the reporter Aoife Kavanagh and executive producer Brian Pairceir remain working in RTE, although it is not clear whether they are still in current affairs.

They are not involved in any on-air programming. It is believed that they are on the same pay and conditions as before the programme.

Any decision on the fate of those involved in the 'Prime Time Investigates' programme will be taken by RTE bosses after considering the BAI report.

Irish Independent

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