The head of religious programmes at RTÉ has said the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland has ruled it is totally defensible to retain the 18 peals of the Angelus bell during the "moment of reflection", as well as continuing to call it the Angelus.

Roger Childs told RTÉ's News At One he has not consulted other religious denominations in drawing up the organisation's plans to revamp the Angelus, except in an anecdotal way.

He said religious leaders are broadly supportive of having a reflective space.

Mr Childs said he has asked the creative community to come up with forms of films that would be accessible to people of all faiths and none.

He acknowledged that the chimes are the Angelus chimes, but said they are part of the landscape of Irish society and he does not feel that they are coercive or intrusive. 

In a statement RTÉ said “the daily ‘Angelus’ broadcast on RTÉ One is by far RTÉ's longest-running and most watched religious programme”.

It also acknowledged: “It is also, possibly, the most controversial. For some, the reflective slot, which airs for just one minute in every 1440 per day and on only one RTÉ television channel, is as much part of Ireland's unique cultural identity as the harp on your passport.

“For others, it is an anachronism - a reminder of more homogenously and observantly Christian times.”

Atheist Ireland believes RTÉ should change the name of the Angelus

In a statement the organisation’s chairperson Michael Nugent said: “We believe that changing the title would be an important first step to creating a genuinely inclusive and religiously neutral moment of reflection.”

Atheist Ireland received a letter from RTÉ in which the broadcaster stated: "We have given careful consideration to your argument about the term ‘Angelus’ and will take further soundings to determine whether that title remains the best one for today's Ireland."

Mr Nugent said “changing the title should be the first of several changes to make the moment inclusive.”

“We remain concerned about other aspects of the Angelus, and of RTÉ's response to our complaints,” he added.