RTÉ denies claims by family of missionary

RTÉ has denied claims by the family of another missionary featured in the Prime Time Investigates documentary Mission to Prey that the allegations it makes against their relative are incorrect, unsubstantiated, and prejudiced.

Writing in the latest issue of The Irish Catholic newspaper in the wake of the defamation by RTÉ of Fr Kevin Reynolds, the family of the now deceased Br Gerard Dillon described the documentary as “utterly despicable” and a breach of natural justice.

They asked that Br Dillon’s name be cleared, or proof be shown to back the allegation made against him in the programme.

The Prime Time Investigates programme carried a single allegation from a South African man, Tyrone Selmon, that he was abused by the missionary.

The Dillon family said RTÉ was “casually indifferent” to them by not contacting either them or the Christian Brothers in South Africa.

They accused the station of ignoring their correspondence on the matter.

They said the research used in the programme “has already been exposed, as in the case of Fr Reynolds’ defamation, as appallingly incorrect, unsubstantiated, and profoundly prejudiced... we believe that this is also the case with our deceased relative Br GG Dillon”.

However, last night RTÉ issued a statement in which it said:

*It made Christian Brothers authorities “at the most senior level” in Ireland aware of “specific research” into the GG Dillon matter and also made separate efforts to secure comment from the Christian Brothers’ school system in South Africa.

*Separately from the testimony given by Tyrone Selmon, it secured allegations of abuse at the hands of Br Dillon by other former pupils now living in other countries. Those other allegations were corroborated by others.

*After watching the coverage here, Tyrone Selmon has maintained his position in respect of his allegations.

*RTÉ wrote to the Dillon family twice. On one occasion a letter from the Dillon family was responded to by the editor of current affairs TV.

The claims follow Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte’s decision to order a Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) inquiry into how Fr Kevin Reynolds’ defamation was allowed to take place on the programme. Two separate investigations are also being carried out.

The Prime Time Investigates programme wrongly accused Fr Reynolds of raping a minor while he was a missionary in Kenya and fathering a child as a result of this rape.

Fr Kevin Reynolds received an apology and damages, believed to be at least €1 million, from RTÉ.


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