Founder of priests group criticises Iona's legal action

They ‘should have grabbed one of the alternatives offered’ by broadcaster

Fr Brendan Hoban: “Iona was indulging in a form of cheer-leading, the equivalent of urging the hounds to kill the fox – not a happy place to be, especially for the fox”

Fr Brendan Hoban: “Iona was indulging in a form of cheer-leading, the equivalent of urging the hounds to kill the fox – not a happy place to be, especially for the fox”

Mon, Feb 24, 2014, 01:00

A founder-member of the Association of Catholic Priests has criticised the Iona Institute for its recent legal actions against RTÉ.

“If you claim a role in public discourse then you can’t complain about the unwritten rules,” Fr Brendan Hoban said. “It’s just part of the cut and thrust of debate. There’s no place for wilting violets.”

Writing on the ACP website, he added: “In the recent controversy about homophobia . . . Iona’s gadarene rush to the legal eagles for their pound of flesh from RTÉ was both surprising and unwise.”

‘Dissident priests’
He recalled how, some years ago, “a member of the Iona Institute agreed with an RTÉ presenter on a popular morning radio show that ‘dissident priests’ should be pushed out of the Catholic Church”, referring to ACP members.

“It didn’t seem to occur to the Iona spokesperson – though we feared that maybe it did – that this could involve for the more likely suspects a loss of earnings, accommodation, job and identity, in effect the devastation of one’s life.

“All of that didn’t seem to matter much. Iona was indulging in a form of cheer-leading, the equivalent of urging the hounds to kill the fox – not a happy place to be, especially for the fox,” Fr Hoban said.


Temptation
“Indeed if the defamation had been personalised, there was a great temptation to pursue Iona for compensation. ”

Iona “should have grabbed one of the alternatives offered by RTÉ, either a right of reply or a donation to a charity”.

“They could have claimed the higher ground by standing above what presented as a form of precious grandstanding and worse, what looked like a selfish rush to financially milk RTÉ’s predicament.”