The Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources, Mr Pat Rabbitte, TD met with the Board of RTÉ this morning on foot of the BAI Report into the Prime Time Investigates ‘Mission to Prey’ programme, which was published last Friday. The meeting, which was arranged at the Minister’s request, lasted over two hours. The Board reaffirmed that a grievous wrong had been done to Fr Reynolds and that RTÉ was gravely at fault in this regard.
The meeting involved a robust and detailed exchange between the Minister and the Board on the events that led to the broadcast taking place, the actions that the Board has taken since then and which it proposes to take to re-establish public trust in RTÉ.
In commenting on the meeting, the Minister noted “The matter caused grave damage not only to Fr Kevin Reynolds but also to the reputation of RTÉ.”
“Arising from the meeting I have agreed that the Board will provide me, within a week, with a detailed report on all of the steps they are taking to address the serious systemic short-comings that have been exposed by this case. These steps will include Board oversight measures. The Board has also agreed to submit a quarterly monitoring report to me that will be used to measure how the new processes and arrangements are being embedded into the organisation as a whole. The response of the Board and the organisation in taking the necessary action will therefore be subject to scrutiny and measurement. The Board is in no doubt that full implementation of all measures is necessary.”
“I also recognise that this is the first time that section 53 of the Broadcasting Act has been used and I have asked my Department to engage with RTÉ and the BAI on their experience of the investigation process to ensure that the legislation is fit for purpose. In addition, we need to ensure that the provisions of the Act that deal with redress provide adequate protection to the ordinary member of the public and I am committed to seeking to amend the legislation in this regard if necessary”.
I have, today, briefed my Cabinet Colleagues on my meeting with the Board.