Defamed Co Longford priest Fr Kevin Reynolds has blamed the media for keeping the ongoing controversy surrounding his much publicised RTE libelling in the public spotlight.
In a short and candid interview with the Leader on Monday, the Lanesboro born cleric intimated his desire to draw a line under the entire episode and concentrate on his parochial duties as a parish priest.
He also declined to make any further comment about his exclusion from a Broadcasting Authority of Ireland’s investigation into the controversial Prime Time Investigates programme, ‘A Mission to Prey’.
Speaking from his adopted home of Ahascragh, Co Galway, Fr Reynolds said many of his parishioners had also spoken of their frustration at unrelenting media coverage concerning the furore.
“People are just sick of the whole thing,” he bluntly put it. “I have nothing more to say. It has been blown out of all proportion.”
Fr Reynolds’ forthright approach and eagerness to move on from the long running saga, would appear to back up the comments made by his solicitor, Robert Dore.
Fielding calls from a string of national publications last week, Mr Dore said his client was keen to disassociate himself from the storm and focus on day to day parochial engagements.
“His position is that he is glad to put all this behind him,” he said.
Renewed interest in the Fr Reynolds-RTE fallout resurfaced last week amid suggestions the Co Longford native was being kept in the dark surrounding the investigation into his defamation by RTE.
The BAI report has so far remained outside of Fr Reynolds’ or his legal team’s reach even though the final document is now in the hands of RTE management.
Instead, the defamed priest has been told he will not receive a copy of the report until the State broadcaster has finished scrutinising its findings.
This effectively means Fr Reynolds could be made to wait until as late as next Friday (April 20) when RTE senior figures are expected to issue a formal response.
Reports yesterday claimed the report, headed by former BBC Northern Ireland controller Anna Carragher, found that the programme was unfair, thereby breaching Fr Reynolds’ privacy. Its conclusion, according to a leaked document obtained by a national newspaper on Tuesday, recommends a penalty of over €200,000, just shy of the BAI’s €250,000 limit.
Despite attempts made by the Leader to press the Lanesboro priest on the subject earlier this week, Fr Reynolds’ reply was very much in keeping with his willingness to concentrate on more professional matters.
“What was said was said. That’s all I have to say,” he added, before politely signalling his inclination to bring the interview to a close.
A former missionary, Fr Reynolds, was defamed by RTE’s Prime Time Investigates on May 23 last year when it reported he fathered an African’s woman’s child.
RTE later apologised and accepted the claims were without any foundation in a case which also led to undisclosed damages being awarded by the High Court.