The RTÉ Chairman and senior executives have again been questioned in relation to how the organisation will safeguard against mistakes in the aftermath of the Fr Kevin Reynolds case.

The BAI found that the Prime Time Investigates programme in May 2011 had broadcast serious, damaging and untrue allegations about Fr Reynolds.

During almost four hours of questioning by an Oireachtas committee, Labour Senator John Whelan said RTÉ Authority Chairman Tom Savage had a conflict of interest in his role at RTÉ as he was a consultant to politicians and others.

Mr Whelan said he did not think his position was tenable if the credibility of RTÉ was to be restored.

The senator told Mr Savage that he "shafted" former Managing Director of RTÉ News and Current Affairs Ed Mulhall - and hung him out to dry.

He was speaking in the context of comments from Mr Savage to an earlier Sunday Independent report on the Fr Reynolds case. 

The senator said that Mr Savage had made a pre-emptive statement to the media in relation to Mr Mulhall.

Responding, Mr Savage said there was no pre-emptive strike and said Mr Mulhall had accepted responsibility.

He said it was the organisation's job to learn lessons from the Fr Reynolds episode.

Following calls for both the director general and chairman to resign, Mr Savage said RTÉ faced "horrendous challenges" and the last thing it needed in his opinion was the removal of a DG.

He said the chairman was "presumably more easily replaced" but told the committee that in his opinion to walk away would be cowardly.

There were also sharp exchanges between Mr Savage and Independent TD Mattie McGrath. 

Mr Savage asked Deputy McGrath to withdraw remarks he had made about him and his family.

He rejected an assertion that he had spent the weekend being "coached to come in here and give bad information."

"You have no basis on which to say that and I will not tolerate it."

Paternity tests

RTÉ Director General Noel Curran was questioned about the paternity tests carried out on the child at the centre of the allegations in the programme.

He said there had been a delay over the summer and that it should not have happened. He added that RTÉ should have moved more quickly after the programme was broadcast to put things in place.

However, once the testing process was in train, he said there were a lot of logistical problems involved in dealing with the person at the centre of the allegation.

Asked about when the chairman and the RTÉ Board were informed of the legal problems with the programme, Mr Curran said when the first paternity test came through in September he informed the chairman and informed the Board at the very next meeting.

Fine Gael Deputy Tom Barry said it was his opinion that Mr Curran should stand aside. He also said the Board was damaged and should consider its position.

Deputy Barry said Mr Curran's attitude had been "spoiling for a row" and said he did not like Mr Curran's "defensive approach".

Mr Curran said he was surprised to hear Deputy Barry say he was "spoiling for a row", saying he had not had a row with anyone today or last week.

He said his responsibility is to lead the organisation through a difficult period and he had taken that head on.

Mr Curran outlined the changes that had taken place in RTÉ since the Prime Time Investigates programme, saying he did not believe the mistake could happen again if the organisation successfully implemented those changes.

"If changes to editorial practices are got right, then the risk can be minimised and everyone in RTÉ is absolutely committed to that."

Brother Gerard Dillon

Mr Curran has agreed to examine the case of the late Brother Gerard Dillon, who was featured in the Mission to Prey programme.

The move came following a question from Fine Gael Senator Michael Mullins, who claimed the family of Br Dillon had a reason to believe that the deceased man had been gravely wronged.

Mr Curran agreed to examine the claims at the request of the chairman of the Oireachtas committee, Andrew Doyle.

Mr Doyle asked Senator Mullins to meet the RTÉ Director General and supply whatever evidence the family had in their possession.

In response, Mr Curran said if the family had new evidence, he would be very happy to look at it and deal with it.

He said four individuals had made allegations to the programme team regarding Br Dillon, and that there were 41 pages of contemporaneous notes of interviews with these individuals.