Toscan du Plantier murder investigation still open, says Garda head



The investigation into the 1996 murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier is still “live and open”, said Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan.

She said the force will recruit more data analysts to strengthen the investigative capabilities that were central to the conviction of Graham Dwyer.

Speaking at the annual conference of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (Agsi) in Trim, Co Meath, Commissioner O’Sullivan rejected its criticism that she viewed the association as a “nuisance” and had shown disrespect in failing to consult it on policing reform

“Absolutely not,” she said. “I don’t see any of our members as a nuisance and I think I’m on record from the very first day saying that we will engage with all of our people.”

She said a wide-ranging programme of reform was under way and when the strategic transformation office spearheading it was fully operational, communication between it and all Garda members would be a priority.

She said while the Garda was praised following the conviction of Dwyer for murder, she was conscious there remained a family grieving for Elaine O’Hara.

And while a jury had rejected accusations by Ian Baileythat gardaí had conspired against him when investigating Ms Toscan du Plantier’s killing, the case remained unsolved.

“It is a matter of regret to An Garda Síochána that . . . nobody has been brought to justice for that crime. It remains an ongoing, live and open investigation.”

She believed the investigation of Dwyer, a 42-year-old architect, for the murder of Ms O’Hara underlined the professionalism of the Garda’s investigative work.

She said Garda James O’Donoghue had shown great tenacity in investigating the provenance and significance of the items found in Vartry Reservoir and Garda Bríd Wallace and Sgt Alan Browne had “trawled through absolutely tonnes of very horrific footage”.

Civilian analyst Sarah Skedd had done excellent work in analysing the data on the phones linked to Dwyer that proved central to the investigation, she said.

“I think it’s an excellent example of the fusion of what I would call good old-fashioned police work,” she said. “I would like to see far more data analytics being used and we’re currently . . . looking for new analysts.”

These would help in the presentation of often complex data in an “understandable manner” to juries in major trials.

Commissioner O’Sullivan said the McGinn report into a Garda review of the investigation into the killing of Fr Niall Molloy in Clara, Co Offaly, in 1985, vindicated the review team.

“But that doesn’t bring us any comfort,” she said. “If any new evidence comes to light it will be pursued. It’s only fair to say . . . it’s probably not right to hold out hope 30 years later.”

Father Forgive Them


Father Forgive Them

 at 5:38 pm March 31, 2015


The watch worn by Fr Niall Molloy, cracked and with the time stopped, when he was beaten to death on the evening of  July 8, 1985. Gardai were not called to the scene until 3.15am

“The report does not answer all of the questions raised, however, and concludes that the precise events surrounding Fr [Niall] Molloy’s death cannot now be ascertained.

“In these circumstances, Mr [Dominic] McGinn [SC] recommends that examination by a further inquiry would not be warranted.

“In accepting this recommendation, I fully appreciate that it will come as a disappointment for Fr Molloy’s family and for those who have campaigned on their behalf.

‘Deep disappointment’ for Fr Molloy’s family as new probe ruled out


There will be no further inquiries into the controversial death of Fr Niall Molloy, following an independent examination of the garda investigation

By Tom Brady

His family said they were “deeply disappointed” following the report by Dominic McGinn SC. He was appointed by the Government to take a fresh look at the garda review of the investigation following articles by journalist Gemma O’Doherty.

Last night, the McGinn report recommended that another inquiry would not be warranted. It concluded that some of the concerns expressed about the garda investigation were not supported by the evidence.

“We’re deeply disappointed that an inquiry has been ruled out,” said Fr Molloy’s nephew Bill Maher.

“As far as the family is concerned, it doesn’t stop here. If we can, and we have to, we will go to Europe, if we have to go down that road.”

Fr Molloy’s body was found in the home of Richard and Theresa Flynn at Kilcoursey House, Clara, Co Offaly, on July 8, 1985.

A garda file was sent to the DPP and Mr Flynn was charged with manslaughter and assault.

But at his trial, the jury was directed to find him not guilty.

Other allegations that surfaced since then have resulted in a major controversy surrounding the death.

But Mr McGinn concluded that, given the passage of time, the death of so many pertinent witnesses and the reluctance of others to give evidence, it was unlikely any further inquiry would have a reasonable prospect of establishing the truth.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said she accepted his recommendation – while fully appreciating that it would cause disappointment for Fr Molloy’s family and campaigners. She hoped they would accept that every effort was made to answer as many questions as possible.

Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan said she hoped the report would bring some comfort to Fr Molloy’s family and it had also vindicated some of the work of the garda review team.

But she felt that, 30 years on, it was unlikely that inquiries would shed any new light.

The report sets out some shortcomings in the original garda investigation – while acknowledging the precise events surrounding the priest’s death could not now be ascertained.

One of the unanswered questions is the precise time at which Fr Molloy sustained his injuries. Another question mark lies over the significant delay in calling the authorities.

The calm attitude of Richard Flynn when the gardaí arrived was a feature of the case which many would find inexplicable, said Mr McGinn. But without knowing more about Mr Flynn’s usual demeanour, it was impossible to say if this was out of character.

In light of Richard Flynn admitting he struck Fr Molloy, the directed acquittal at his trial was extraordinary, Mr McGinn found. While much criticism had been directed at the trial judge, Frank Roe, the report said the decision might have been partly attributable to the concessions made by State Pathologist Dr John Harbison under cross-examination.

Mr McGinn said it was clear that the Flynn family enjoyed friendships with people involved in politics, some of them at the highest level. But there was no evidence to substantiate a contention that these were used to their advantage.

Quote from Mr Dominic McGinn S C

Mr McGinn said that Fr Molloy’s family had “a completely reasonable sense of injustice”.



Passage of time precludes new probe into priest’s 1985 death

An independent review of a Garda investigation into the violent death of Fr Niall Molloy 30 years ago has recommended against any further inquiry.

The examination by Dominic McGinn SC said this was despite “extremely unusual” and “quite disturbing” aspects to the death of the 52-year-old priest at the home of Richard and Therese Flynn in Clara, Co Offaly, on July 8, 1985.

Mr Flynn was subsequently charged with manslaughter and assault but, at his trial in June 1986, the jury was directed to find him not guilty.

Mr McGinn was tasked by the Department of Justice with reviewing the Garda Serious Crime Review Team (SCRT) examination of the original Garda investigation.

Mr McGinn concluded that, given the passage of time, the death of pertinent witnesses, and the reluctance of others to give evidence, it was unlikely that any further inquiry would have a reasonable prospect of establishing the truth.

“Certainly there are extremely unusual, if not unique, features about this case,” said Mr McGinn.

“Many of these are quite disturbing and merited an in-depth analysis.”

Mr McGinn’s report said:

  • There was an “unexplained” and “significant delay” in alerting authorities to the priest’s injuries;
  • That the “calm attitude” of Mr Flynn to the “violent death of a family friend” in his house was a feature that many would find “inexplicable”;
  • Regarding the Flynn family, he said “undoubtedly at least one of them knew who was responsible” for Fr Molloy’s death;
  • In light of confessions by Mr Flynn to inflicting violence on Fr Molloy, the directed acquittal of Mr Flynn at his trial was “extraordinary”;
  • That while much of the criticism was levelled at the trial judge, his decision was at least “partially attributable” to concessions made by State pathologist John Harbison;
  • In spite of friendships the Flynns had with politicians at the highest level, there was no evidence that these connections were used.

Mr McGinn concluded that, having looked at the material in the SCRT report, “if is difficult to envisage how any further inquiry could have a reasonable prospect of establishing the truth about the issues raised”.

He said this was due to the passage of time, the death of key witnesses, and the “reluctance of others voluntarily to give evidence”.

Therefore, he said, a further inquiry was not warranted.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said she accepted this recommendation.

Mr McGinn said that Fr Molloy’s family had “a completely reasonable sense of injustice”.

The priest’s nephew, Bill Maher, said the report was ultimately “disappointing” but was “quite detailed”.

“He still says that certain aspects of it warrant inquiries,” said Mr Maher.

“His main conclusion seems to be that people have died and people are unwilling to speak. If the commission [of inquiry] had been set up, which is what we’d sought all along, people would have been compelled to give evidence. There are a few people dead but there are a lot of people alive.”

Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan said that if new evidence came to light “it will be pursued”, but added: “It’s only fair to say at this moment it’s probably not right to hold out hope 30 years later.”


Definitely no re-investigation into mysterious death of Fr Niall Molloy


A DECISION THAT there is to be no fresh inquiry into the death of a priest 30 years ago has been backed up by a government review.

The DPP previously decided, following a review by the Garda Serious Crime Review Team, that there would be no further charges brought into the death of Fr Niall Molloy in 1985.

Today, Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald published a report into that review by Dominic McGinn SC. It backed up that no further inquiry would be warranted.

Fr Molloy was found dead in the home of his friends Therese Flynn and her husband Richard in Clara, Co Offaly in July 1985.


Gardaí investigating the death found evidence of violence in the couple’s bedroom, where Molloy had been found, and pools of blood on the ground – leading to the arrest of Richard Flynn who was charged with manslaughter.

His controversial trial saw the judge direct the jury to find the defendant not guilty – only four hours after the trial began – when the defence counsel suggested that Fr Molloy could have died from a heart attack or of other natural causes.

McGinn’s report published today outlines that the “precise events surrounding Father Molloy’s death cannot now be ascertained”.

This is due to a number of reasons including, “the death of many of the pertinent witnesses, and the reluctance of others to give evidence”.

Unanswered questions

The review acknowledges that “unanswered questions do remain” but finds that they would likely not be answered by further investigation.

Family of Fr Niall Molloy disappointed at Independent Examination finding


The nephew of Fr Niall Molloy says he’s obviously disappointed, but not totally surprised, at the results of an independent examination of a garda review into the death of his uncle in Offaly 30 years ago.

The independent examination which is published this afternoon has found that a further inquiry is not warranted.

Father Niall Molloy was found dead in the Clara home of Richard and Therese Flynn in July 1985.

Richard Flynn was subsequently acquitted of manslaughter.

Following newspaper claims that the crime was not thoroughly investigated, the Garda’s Serious Crime Review Team reviewed the case, and a file was sent to the DPP, but the office directed no prosecutions.

Following continued concerns expressed by Mr Molloy’s family, the Government tasked Senior Counsel Dominic McGinn with reviewing the latest Garda investigation.

The Minister for Justice today published that report which recommends that a further inquiry is not warranted.

In a statement, Frances Fitzgerald said she acknowledges the tragic death of Father Niall Molloy, but said it is not always possible to find answers for families whose loved ones die in violent circumstances.

Speaking to Shannonside News this afternoon Bill Maher says the family will need time to properly read the lengthy report before they know what else they might be able to do to move matters on from here.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,053 other followers

%d bloggers like this: