A PRIEST accused of fathering a child with an underage girl has been cleared by a paternity test, the Irish Independent understands.
A lawyer for Fr Kevin Reynolds (65) last night said the results of the test had come back negative.
Fr Reynolds voluntarily submitted himself to the test in the wake of an RTE 'Prime Time Investigates' programme entitled 'Mission To Prey'. It alleged that he committed statutory rape by fathering a child with an underage Kenyan girl called Veneranda while she was working as a maid in a house he frequented in Africa 30 years ago.
He is now suing the national broadcaster over the allegations, which he insists are completely untrue.
Fr Reynolds refused to comment on the matter when contacted by this newspaper yesterday.
"I'm in touch with my solicitor at the moment. I have to speak to my solicitor," he said.
In May, he agreed to step down from his ministry in the parish of Ahascragh, Co Galway, while the allegations against him were investigated.
The paternity test was carried out with Fr Reynold's participation in the wake of the programme, which was broadcast on RTE One on May 23.
Yesterday, his solicitor Robert Dore, said he understood that the paternity test results had come back negative.
But Mr Dore refused to say if a copy of the test results had been supplied to him.
He stressed that he now intended to press ahead with his client's defamation action against RTE.
"I'd prefer at this juncture not to make any real comment. All I am going to say is that what's involved here is the gravest of libels," Mr Dore said.
The matter is due to come before the courts again on September 21.
As RTE's legal team has not yet submitted any defence to the defamation proceedings, Mr Dore said he would be pressing for a judgment to be issued against the broadcaster.
It is understood that RTE's lawyers are still examining the matter and have not ruled out submitting a defence before the hearing.
A spokesman for RTE said the station would not be making any comment on the matter as it was the subject of legal proceedings.
At an initial hearing into the matter, an affidavit from Fr Reynolds stated he was "distressed and horrified" when he learned that 'Prime Time Investigates' intended to broadcast the allegations.
In July, Fr Reynold's legal team failed in its efforts to have the High Court force RTE to provide its defence to the claim more quickly.
Fr Reynolds worked with the Mill Hill Missionaries in Africa from 1971 until January 2004.
A spokesman for the order, Fr Michael Corcoran said their investigation was still continuing.
He said Fr Reynolds was "co-operating fully with all aspects of the investigation" but added that it wasn't possible at this stage to say when the investigation into the matter would be concluded.