Wednesday 13 December 2017

Fr Kevin Reynolds: I am not looking for anyone to be sacked over RTE libel reporters

FR KEVIN Reynolds, who received massive damages from RTE over a false allegation that he had fathered a child in Kenya, said today that those at the heart of decision-making at the national broadcaster must face the consequences of their actions.

Speaking on Shannonside Radio he said he was not looking for anyone to be sacked or out for anybody’s blood.

The parish priest of Ahascragh, Co Galway, said the day he had to step down from his mission was “as if everything I believed had been destroyed”.

Last weekend, Fr Reynolds (65) told the Sunday Independent that he had no feelings of revenge or anger over being defamed.

“I feel very relieved it's all over. It has been an awful and devastating experience. So, so, so distressing - not only for me but for my family and for my parish,” he said.

More than 500,000 people watched the Prime Time Investigates programme entitled A Mission To Prey, which showed reporter Aoife Kavanagh confronting the priest after a first communion mass to falsely accuse him of sexually abusing a teenage girl in Kenya in 1982 and fathering a child by the woman before abandoning them both.

An estimated 338,000 people also listened to the baseless allegation being repeated the following day on Morning Ireland.

The broadcasts went ahead despite Fr Reynolds’ vehement denials and his offer to take a paternity test. It later proved that he was not the father of the child.

The details of the award made to Fr Reynolds are confidentia,l but it is understood to be very significant with estimates that the libel has cost RTE in the region of €1m.

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