Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil 15th April 2015
On the last day the Dáil met, Deputy Wallace tried to jolt the Taoiseach’s memory regarding his inaction on problems with senior gardaí in the Athlone area. Little did we know that at the very same time representatives of the Department of Justice and Equality were in the process of contacting the family of Fr. Niall Molloy, thereby giving them less than one hour’s notice that the Minister for Justice and Equality was about to publish the outcome of the McGinn report into their uncle’s murder. For four months she sat on a report that, let us remember, was a paper review of a Garda review of a Garda investigation. The Minister later acknowledged that the report identified unanswered questions and serious shortcomings in the investigation but concluded that it was too long ago and we will never find out the truth. Of course, she did not admit that the report’s terms of reference were preordained to have that outcome. Mr. McGinn himself indicated that his task was not to establish the truth, or even venture an opinion about the truth; it was simply to identify issues of public importance or concern that might warrant further investigation. In other words, the truth is out there somewhere but we are not going to bother getting to it.
In fairness to Mr. McGinn, he raised a number of issues, such as the fact that the Garda failed to identify and interview witnesses and neighbours; the fact that a statement was not taken from the solicitor whom Niall Molloy consulted shortly before his death in regard to his financial problems with the Flynns; the lack of forensic analysis of blood and fingerprint samples taken at the scene of the crime; and, critically, the important fact that the opinion of Professor Michael Farrell, the expert neuropathologist to whom John Harbison deferred, was not sought. Dr. Farrell’s opinion confirmed that Niall Molloy took between three and six hours to die. In other words, as Mr. McGinn indicated, the account given by Richard and Therese Flynn was not accurate. Mr. McGinn went on to note that the review did not say how it happened. Such information could only be ascertained by an independent commission of investigation, as recommended by the serious crime review.
I presume the Taoiseach is aware this is only one of more than 300 historic cases of Garda malpractice currently being considered by the independent review mechanism and that the Minister has already teed matters up so that a large percentage of these cases are unlikely to result in action. Can we now take it that the review is nothing more than a fig leaf to divert attention from serious allegations of Garda malpractice? It is a bit of a stunt, like replacing the previous Minister for Justice and Equality and Garda Commissioner. The people who submitted these cases can expect to be re-victimised and re-violated. Does the Taoiseach really think that the Molloy family, or Cynthia Owen, who was raped and impregnated at the age of 11 years and her child murdered, are going to leave matters at that? If he is serious about Garda reform, he will have to deal with the past before he can deal with the future.
The Taoiseach: The 300 cases to which Deputy Clare Daly referred involve issues that were brought to my attention in the House or to the attention of the Minister for Justice and Equality by the Deputy, Deputy Wallace and members of the public. The vast majority of these cases have been assessed by an independent legal team. She may have information because she appears to know the outcome of the examination of these cases. The Minister has confirmed that she will shortly commence writing to the members of the families concerned in regard to the report of the legal team once it has assessed all of these cases. Fr. Molloy is deceased and nothing we say in this House will bring him back. The Government considered and accepted the McGinn report in the last several weeks, after it was presented to the Minister. She has confirmed that she will commence the process of informing the families about the cases referred to her Department and my Department, in respect of which a legal team was appointed to analyse the issues arising. Many of them have been considered at various levels over the years. I do not know the details of the responses that will issue in respect of these cases because I have not seen the report of the legal team.
Deputy Clare Daly: The information to which I have access is contained in the Official Report of the Dáil. I presume that if the Minister for Justice and Equality was in contact with the Taoiseach, she would have told him what she has stated on the public record, namely, that because of the passage of time and other issues she expects no action to be taken in a majority of cases. It is not good enough for the Taoiseach to say Fr. Molloy is dead. His family know that but they have been devastated by the outcome of this report. They cannot figure out how the Government can correctly pardon somebody who was hanged in 1941 based on a re-examination of that case while expecting us to believe it cannot re-examine Fr. Niall Molloy’s case, which occurred in 1985, even though eight out of 11 witnesses present in the room are still alive and forensic evidence which was never examined is presumably still available. I do not think the Taoiseach realises the seriousness of these cases. He has not addressed the bigger picture of dealing with the past before we can deal with the future. I am somewhat worried about his memory at this stage. He has had trouble recalling certain events. Perhaps he remembers one of the cases he referred to the review panel.
Brenda Power wrote
“Molloy affair has also been a victory of sorts since the latest review has not found any reason to criticise the force for the role it played in the investigation “
On 8 April 2015 at 17:55, William Maher <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
I have just read over your article on the McGinn report into the death of my late Uncle Fr Niall Molloy. It is obvious from reading the article that you did not read the report.
You wrote “The Molloy affair has also been a victory of sorts since the latest review has not found any reason to criticise the force for the role it played in the investigation “
You are the only person to have reached that conclusion from the report
I suggest you read Pages 100, 101, and 102 of the McGinn Report Under the title “Shortcomings in the 1985 investigation”
Fr Niall did attend the wedding reception in Kilcoursey House as well as the lunch the following day
Please print a correction and do kindly read reports carefully before you publish opinions on them.
Nephew of Fr Niall MolloyOn 8 Apr 2015, at 18:16, SM – Sunday Times, Irish News <email@example.com> wrote:
Dear William,I have forwarded your letter to Brenda Power’s personal email account.I’m wondering if we may also publish your letter in the Sunday Times this weekend?SincerelyJohn BurnsAssociate Editor
On 8 April 2015 at 23:31, William Maher <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
John,We seem to keep meeting like this. I would prefer a proper correction and an apology. However if you see it an an easier way out you can publish my letter unedited. Last time you did this in the way of an apology you edited my letter. I am not prepared to accept that this time.Regards,Bill MaherOn 9 Apr 2015, at 09:10, SM – Sunday Times, Irish News <email@example.com> wrote:hi BillI see no reason to edit it. We will publish it exactly as you have written.RegardsJohn BurnsOn 9 April 2015Dear Bill,
Thanks for your email, and I can assure you there was definitely no
intention to cause your family further distress. I know this sounds
like a lame excuse, but I really did not write the line you complain
of – it was inserted in the editing process, and almost certainly by a
lawyer, as I had written a line to the effect that the Gardai hadn’t
covered themselves in glory in this case. I know you are insisting on
having your letter printed exactly as written, and I guess that is a
hit on me and on my professional reputation I will just have to take.
Brenda Power10th April 2015
Thank you so much for your reply.
You article did cause a lot of distress to my family.
The whole tone of your article was very upsetting.
We are talking here about a real life . A Murder, Not a novel or a board game. We are talking about a man , a priest, who was beaten to death in a friend’s house and left to die for a number of hours without medical help. He was alone and dying and did not even have the comfort of one of his family to hold his hand in his final hours.
Not Agatha Christie, not Cluedo…….I hope it never happens someone you are close to. I do not know your marital status but try, for one moment, to imagine it happening to one of your children, or a sibling or simply someone you are close to.
You feel free to comment in such an uniformed and trivial way on a life taken prematurely. Niall had a right to life and it was taken from him.
As for my background I worked in publishing. I am very aware of the process where Lawyers have to “Legal “ articles before they are published and they make suggestions or demand alterations. I have never experienced a situation where they totally overwrote a sentence and had it published without the author’s knowledge. I think you should take it up with them . After all if The Sunday Times have printed an article,under your name and printed views which you did not write, you need to take it up with them.
However that is between you and them. The fact remains an article which carried name was extremely offensive and insensitive and not worthy of a national newspaper
My letter was edited despite being assured that it would not be.
13th April 2015
Daily hits to this Website have brought the total number of views to over 60,000
If only we could get a quarter this number to protest outside Department of Justice. I wonder haw many first preference votes Minister Frances Fitzgerald got.
Senator John Whelan calls for a Common to be established
A comment from our Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan
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.
“Some comfort to Fr Molloy’s family” . honestly what is this woman talking about ?
“Vindicated some of the work of the Garda review team”
Pages 100, 101, & 102 list a series of shortcomings in the 1985 Investigation. In fact “Shortcomings” is a very tame word for what he then goes on to highlight.
There are many more suitable words I could think of to describe the Investigation.
He finishes this section by saying “There is a complete absence of any record of any scientific testing of samples taken during the examination of the scene”
In simple tems the forensic team DID NOTHING