In a Dec. 15 RTE board meeting, both Irish press ombudsman John Horgan and RTE director general Noel Curran presented results from their separate investigations into the Irish public broadcaster’s libelous report alleging a Catholic priest raped and impregnated an “underaged” girl. In October, RTE apologized for wrongly accusing Father Kevin Reynolds of the rape and impregnation despite Father Reynolds’ denials and willingness to take a paternity test before the story aired. See our story here on that apology. We wrote last month when RTE announced that Horgan would review the broadcaster’s actions in this case.
According to the Irish Times, RTE won’t publish either investigation’s results until the Irish Broadcasting Authority finishes its investigation into the libel. That investigation will be “completed early next year,” according to the Irish Examiner. We wrote in late November when the Broadcasting Authority confirmed it would be looking into the case.
The Irish Independent explained that Horgan looked into “editorial processes” and Curran looked into “the timelines and steps” for that program.
According to a statement on RTE’s website, the board “accepted” the Broadcasting Authority ‘s request that “all of the investigations and recommendations should be kept confidential until the BAI’s own statutory inquiry is completed.” According to the Irish Independent, the Broadcasting Authority’s investigation should be completed “by early next March.”
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RTE did disclose that it has “accepted in full the recommendations” made by Horgan, the Irish Times noted.
According to the Journal, “RTÉ also commits to publishing the results of its own investigations and recommendations to the full extent legally permissible once the BAI Inquiry has been concluded.” RTE’s board expressed “deep regret” concerning the program which aired the allegations against Father Reynolds. There were “serious failures” in the “production and broadcast” of the program, according to RTE’s statement.
The Irish Independent noted that RTE hasn’t commented on “any likely disciplinary action against” RTE staff involved in the program Two RTE editors — RTE News maging Director Ed Mulhall and Current Affairs Editor Ken O’Shea “temporarily stepped aside” during the investigations.
RTE noted it “will not be making further public comment on these matters” until the Broadcasting Authority’s investigation ends.