Appointment of Senior Counsel is progress in Fr. Molloy case – Kelly and Whelan
6 November 2013
Statement by Senator John Kelly
Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht Affairs, Training & Skills
We are certainly encouraged with the announcement by the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, that an independent examination by a Senior Counsel is to be conducted into the report of the serious crime team that dealt with the death of Fr. Niall Molloy.
We are disappointed, however, that the Minister has not set up a commission of investigation. Obviously the family and neighbours and friends of Fr. Molloy wish to get to the truth of what happened, and this appointment of a Senior Counsel appears on paper to be no more than somebody who is, again, trawling over the same paperwork that the DPP and the minister himself have previously trawled over.
We sincerely do hope that it does not mean that key witnesses, who were not interviewed before, will now not be interviewed subsequently, and that those who were interviewed but gave no information, can just get away with that. There is no doubt but that this latest development is modest progress, in what has been a harrowing saga over the past twenty eight years.
The minister’s initiative is to be welcomed and we do of course hope that it is a prelude to a full commission of enquiry, which was pledged by both government parties, prior to the last general election. Ultimately, this commission of enquiry is what is required to bring closure and conclusion to Fr. Molloy’s family and the communities in Roscommon and Offaly.
We must also acknowledge the role of Gemma O’ Doherty and her investigative journalism, which undoubtedly acted as a catalyst to having the case reopened and now this latest enquiry being initiated.
We would also like to thank our fellow Senate members and indeed all our Oireachtas colleagues, across all parties, who supported the initiative undertaken by us when we brought this matter back to public light, over the last two years in the Senate.
We recognise that whilst the Minister for Justice did have it within his gift to allow a commission of enquiry, he could also have decided to be content with the cold case investigation and leave it at that. The Minister does deserve huge credit for not burying this case, and for appointing a Senior Counsel.