Press Ombudsman Prof John Horgan has said the single biggest problem that arose in the libelling of Fr Kevin Reynolds by RTÉ's Prime Time Investigates programme ''A Mission to Prey'' was the need for journalists to distinguish between fact and belief.

On Friday, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland published its investigation report into the programme, which found that it seriously breached certain requirements of the Broadcasting Act 2009.

It also said there was a significant failure of editorial and managerial controls within the organisation.

Professor Horgan, who carried out a separate review of editorial processes within RTÉ, said the broadcaster now had to concentrate on programme quality as well as fair and reasonable reporting.

Separately, BAI Chairman Bob Collins said the BAI report on ''A Mission to Prey'' did not say that every broadcast by RTÉ is contaminated or tainted by it.

But he said it would be a dangerous illusion to think that this was such an isolated item that nothing like it could ever happen anywhere else in the organisation.

Speaking on RTÉ's This Week, Mr Collins said RTÉ would need to carefully consider its future approach to legal proceedings in light of the programme that libelled Fr Reynolds.

He said this was not the end of a process but the beginning of a process for RTÉ.

The BAI report found that there was a significant failure of editorial and managerial controls within the organisation.

Mr Collins again expressed regret that RTÉ chose not to waive its claim to privilege between solicitor and client.

Asked if RTÉ was asked to waive the privilege, he said RTÉ was asked for all information and the investigating officer was told by RTÉ that it would not waive its privilege.

He said one of the key tests that the BAI took into account was the duration of the breach of the statutory obligations which he said extended until the formal apologies were made.

He said even if it were not the case that on the day of transmission RTÉ recognised that there was a serious difficulty with this item, it must have been clear to it thereafter that there was a real danger that an injustice had been done.

Mr Collins said it took a long time for any such realisation to dawn which he said was a serious issue for the broadcaster.

He said there were grave failures in the editorial processes and nothing in RTÉ's systems had captured them.

In relation to the submissions made by those involved in making the programme, Mr Collins said they had been written to by the investigating officer and invited to make submissions at the outset of the investigation and they did not respond.

He said an executive summary and a summary of the findings were sent to RTÉ and individuals when the initial report was put together and responses were received.

He said when the authority was about to make its final statement of findings, the complete report was sent to RTÉ and to the individuals concerned and responses were received from RTÉ and from four of those involved.

He said the responses were taken seriously and carefully into account and that the authority's judgement was that nothing in the submissions warranted any decision other than a reaffirmation of its finding that there had been a grave breach.

Coveney says RTÉ board ultimately responsible

Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney has said under law the board of RTÉ has "ultimate" responsibility over programming at editorial decisions at the station.

He said they will have to assure Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte that mechanisms are being put in place to "ensure that we don't get a repeat of the Fr Reynolds case" when he meets them on Tuesday morning.

Mr Coveney said today: "If they can't do that, well then I think obviously the minister has to consider that very seriously".

He said Mr Rabbitte "will have to ask the hard questions" and would attend a Cabinet meeting after speaking with the board of RTÉ.

He said from "the very top" in RTÉ, structures had to be put in place "to ensure we don't get a repeat of the kind of mistakes that have caused such a damaging scandal for RTÉ that involves libel and poor journalism."