PUBLISHED21/02/2017 | 02:30
The only man ever charged over the death of Roscommon priest Father Niall Molloy was laid to rest in Co Westmeath.
The Galway native was laid to rest beside his late wife Theresa in Tubberclair Cemetery following midday Funeral Mass at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Tubberclair, Glasson, Co Westmeath.
The acquittal of Mr Flynn of the killing of Fr Molloy sparked a controversy that lasted 30 years after the priest’s death.
Fr Molloy’s body was found in the home of Richard and Theresa Flynn at Kilcoursey House in Clara, Co Offaly, on July 8, 1985.
After a lengthy investigation a garda file was sent to the director of public prosecutions and Mr Flynn was charged with manslaughter and assault.
But at his trial, the late Judge Frank Roe directed the jury to find Mr Flynn not guilt on both counts. The decision fuelled the nationwide interest that already existed in the case and created a flurry of rumours, none of them substantiated, about what had taken place that night.
Since then, further allegations have been made about the events and the subsequent garda investigation.
The fresh outcry prompted garda authorities to appoint members of the serious crime review team, or cold case unit, to carry out a review of the case.
The government then appointed senior counsel, Dominic McGinn, to take a fresh look at the review and he 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 that any further inquiry would have a reasonable prospect of establishing the truth.
Aunty May Quinn ( Flynn ) was the oldest member of the Flynn family to reside in Kilcoursey House.
According to her statement she one of the last people to see Fr. Niall alive on the night he met his violent death. She claims to have spoken to him around midnight. He was on his way to bed and had a drink in his hand . Niall suffered from Ulcers and a glass of milk was found beside his bed.
Aunty May clearly states that she was the last person to go to bed that night.
” I went into my room , closed the door and went to bed. I didn’t hear anything else that night ”
Niall was dead by 1:00 in a room along the corridor from May’s room. There was allegedly an argument and a violent struggle. Over the next few hours hysterical Theresa Flynn had to be restrained . Theresa also had to be sedated by a Doctor despite the fact that she had been drinking and had taken a sleeping tablet.
Aunty May didn’t hear anything.
Numerous people arrived in cars from 1:00a.m. and there were a lot of people upstairs to visit the scene of the killing. A priest, Doctor, family members and a number of Gardai were all up and down the stairs during the night and Aunty May didn’t hear anything.
THERE IS NO RECORD OF THE GARDAI SPEAKING TO AUNTY MAY OR ASKING FOR A STATEMENT FROM HER Despite the fact that she had not left the house all day except to go to Mass in the Morning.
Her statement was not included in the “family statements” handed into the Gardai by family Solicitor Liam Lysaght. In fact her statement ( taken later) turned up at the Inquest but there is no record of when this was handed into the Gardai
At the inquest in 1986 May was on the witness stand . She stood by her statement and was asked by the Coroner to sign her statement. She obliged and as you can see her signature in the Coroner’s Court in no way matches her original signature on her statement taken by the family Solicitor. ( see below )
In a statement to the Gardai Dr O’Sullivan said that Richard Flynn had told him ” There had been a argument downstairs, Fr Molloy came into the bedroom, I assume to thrash matters out ”
In his statement Niall’s brother Billy told of his visit to Kilcoursey hours after Niall’s death. In it he says that Richard Flynn told him “I had a terrible lot of drink taken and a political row started”
In cross examination in Court Richard Flynn denied that he told Billy Molloy that the row had been about politics.” We did not discuss politics” He said.
He also denied telling him that Fr Molloy had fallen and hit his head against a fireplace surround in the sitting room. He also denied saying to Fr Duignan that Fr Molloy had hit his head off a wall.
Kilcoursey House, Clara, Co Offaly, 8th July 2015
In an upstairs bedroom lay the dead body of Fr Niall Molloy. There were wounds to his face and head. there was a drag mark of blood 8ft long
Shortly after 4:45 a.m. on 8th July local Sergeant Kevin Ford and Inspector Tom Monaghan interviewed a calm Richard Flynn in the sitting room. He was in pyjamas ( the second pair he had changed into that night ).
Richard Flynn said “I’m the culprit ” and he apologized for the trouble and for getting the members out of bed.
Inspector Monaghan then cautioned him Richard Flynn BUT DID NOT ARREST HIM.In fact Richard Flynn was never arrested despite making a statement that he had hit Fr Niall a couple of times.
Allegedly the only other witness to the assault was Richard’s wife Theresa. She had been removed from the house and brought to hospital before the police arrived so they were unable to question her.
Is this normal Police procedure ?