RTÉ has said it received 3,500 emails and 1,250 calls about a Waterford Whispers sketch in the New Year's Eve countdown programme on RTÉ One.

The media organisation apologised at the weekend to "those who were offended by the segment".

It followed criticism online and calls for it to be removed from the RTÉ Player.

In a statement this afternoon, RTÉ said: "Since Friday, RTÉ has received approximately 3,500 emails and 1,250 calls regarding the Waterford Whispers sketch segment in the RTÉ One New Year's Eve countdown programme.

"This takes into account emails to RTÉ's Complaints and Information Offices, as well as calls to RTÉ's Information Office and to RTÉ's main reception."

In the 'Waterford Whispers' news report, presented by former RTÉ News presenter Aengus MacGrianna, God is described as being "the latest figure to be implicated in ongoing sexual harassment scandals".

The clip ended with a line that movie producer Harvey Weinstein, who is serving a 23-year sentence in the US for rape and sexual assault, had "requested for a retrial in Ireland".

The Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland had called on RTÉ to remove what he described as the "deeply offensive and blasphemous clip".

In a tweet, Archbishop Eamon Martin said he was "shocked" that the programme's producer or editor "didn't realise how deeply offensive was a mocking 'news report' accusing God of rape & reporting his imprisonment".

The programme remains on the RTÉ Player, but a warning says that "viewer discretion is advised".