Kerry priest questions whether Catholics should pay for TV licence after 'disturbing, inaccurate' Fair City episode

Catholics are asked if they should pay broadcast fee as RTÉ accused of 'lack of respect for Catholic faith and doctrine'
Kerry priest questions whether Catholics should pay for TV licence after 'disturbing, inaccurate' Fair City episode

In last Sunday's episode of 'Fair City', the character of Ger (played by Tina Kellegher) made the shock revelation to Fr Liam (Phelim Drew) that he is the father of her daughter Hayley.

A Kerry priest has questioned whether Catholics should continue to pay their TV licence fee after a “disturbing, inaccurate and disrespectful” storyline on RTÉ's Fair City.

And according to Fr Kevin McNamara, parish priest of the north Kerry parish of Moyvane, it is not the first time the long-running soap has inaccurately reflected Confession.

“It really downgraded the sacrament at a very sensitive time,” Fr McNamara said of the episode.

Confession wrongly portrayed

Fr McNamara said the Confession breached all kinds of protocols. It was made to seem it would take place in front of an altar, there was drink involved, and the priest donned a stole, to name some of the issues.

In the offending scenes, Ger Lynch (played by Tina Kellegher) had asked Fr Liam Plunkett (Phelim Drew) to hear her Confession, but went on to remind him of a night they had shared when in their teens many years previously, and made the shock revelation that he is the father of Ger's daughter, Hayley.

Broadcast date 'added to hurt'

To add to "the hurt", the episode was broadcast on Divine Mercy Sunday, a feast which focuses on the sacrament of Confession, Fr McNamara said.

In a previous storyline some years ago, the same soap gave "a false and disturbing storyline" about a priest breaking the seal of Confession, he also said: 

This showed that the scriptwriters had very little research done on what Confession really is. Have they learned anything? 

Newsletter broadside

The weekend’s newsletter in Moyvane will carry a piece headlined “Fair City – Not Fair on Confession,” the priest said. In it, he will ask Catholics to reflect on the TV licence fee.

‘Why should Catholics continue to pay their TV Licence to a station who continually and deliberately shows a lack of knowledge and respect for the Catholic faith and for sacred doctrine?’ Fr McNamara asked.

RTÉ: 'No intention to cause offence'

Last night, RTÉ said that it had made contact with Fr Kevin to say it is sorry he was disappointed in the story, and that there was no intention to cause offence. It also pointed out that the Confession stopped short of going ahead.

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