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Former BBC journalist to lead libel probe into RTE

A FORMER senior BBC journalist will head the investigation into how RTE libelled Catholic priest Father Kevin Reynolds.

Anna Carragher, controller of BBC Northern Ireland between 2000 and 2006, was appointed as investigating officer by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) yesterday.

Ms Carragher will probe the Prime Time Investigates programme 'Mission To Prey,' which wrongly accused Father Kevin Reynolds of raping a minor and fathering a child while working in Kenya 30 years ago. She will report back to the compliance committee of the BAI after two months.

The inquiry, ordered by Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte, will consider whether programme segments dealing with Fr Reynolds breached the Broadcasting Act.

RTE has apologised to the Galway-based priest and accepted the allegations were baseless, without any foundation and untrue.

Pending the outcome of the investigation, it could face a fine of up to €250,000 on top of the six-figure libel payment to Fr Reynolds.

Ms Carragher has produced and edited numerous news and current affairs programmes for BBC radio and television. She currently serves as a member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, which is responsible for regulating artificial reproduction in the UK.

Irish Independent