SENIOR MANAGEMENT from RTÉ and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland are to meet with the Oireachtas Communications committee later today to discuss issues arising out of the Fr Kevin Reynolds libel case.
Fr Reynolds sued RTÉ over its ’Mission to Prey’ episode of Prime Time Investigations which libelled him. He agreed a settlement with the broadcaster at the High Court.
The BAI recently issued a report on the programme; the report was compiled for the BAI by former BBC executive Anna Carragher.
Carragher’s report found a significant failure of editorial and managerial controls within the broadcaster which led to serious, damaging and untrue allegations being broadcast about Fr Reynolds. RTÉ was fined €200,000 over its breach of broadcasting regulations with regard to the programme.
BAI CEO Michael O’Keeffe and RTÉ’s director general Noel Curran and board chairman Tom Savage will discuss the report with the committee from noon today.
“The committee will wish to explore with Mr Curran and Mr Savage what procedures would be introduced in general policy at RTÉ to ensure the appropriate structures are put in place ensure a scandal such as this will never be repeated,” the committee chairman Andrew Doyle TD said ahead of the meeting.
“Committee Members will engage with senior figures from both the BAI and RTÉ to consider the implications for RTÉ policy in a clearheaded, comprehensive and balanced manner,” he added.
Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte met with the board of RTÉ following the publication of the BAI report. He said that no resignations were sought or offered by the board during their meeting, and that he was satisfied that the board fully appreciates the seriousness of the situation.
“The board attempted to offer no excuse for what happened. The board accepts that it ought not to have happened and that it did damage not just to the reputation of Fr Reynolds but did damage to the reputation of RTÉ,” Rabbitte said.
Today’s meeting with the Joint Committee on Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture is due to begin in Committee Room 2 at noon.