Molloy family seek Department of Justice records
– Relatives of dead priest to take case to Information Commissioner
Relatives of Fr Niall Molloy plan to take a case to the Information Commissioner seeking Department of Justice records relating to the unsolved killing of the County Roscommon priest in 1985.
The family of the Castlecoote cleric has been refused access to Department of Justice records relating to the priest, who died in suspicious circumstances almost 30 years ago.
Relatives acting on behalf of the late priest last year made a request, under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, for access to any records held by the Department in relation to Fr Molloy.
In November the Department released some records to the family on appeal. The records, however, only relate to 2010 onwards, which has prompted the family to take a case to the Information Commissioner.
A nephew of Fr Molloy, Henry McCourt, who requested access to Department records, said the family was left with no other option. “We feel that unnecessary obstacles are being put in our way. Some of the information that we received on appeal should have been given to us in the first instance as it related to family correspondence,” Mr McCourt said.
“We’re not being given access to records before 2010 and at this stage we feel we’ve no other option but to go to the Information Commissioner,” he added.
Another family member also expressed alarm over more recent “confusing” correspondence from the Department, which suggested that archived files had yet to be looked at.
Last week the Department advised Bill Maher, another nephew of the late priest, that the matter of records pre-dating 2010 was “receiving attention”. This is despite the Department issuing a formal decision on the FOI request two months ago.
“Why should we have to go to these lengths? Are they trying to fob us off further? Why is the Department withholding information that we’re entitled to as a family,” Mr Maher said.
He added that he would not accept that some information on file may be too sensitive to release. “Not at this stage; we’re coming up to the 30 year anniversary of Niall’s death,” he said.
The unsolved killing of Fr Molloy at the home of his friends, Richard and Teresa Flynn, in Clara, County Offaly in July 1985 has raised more questions than answers for almost 30 years and has led to allegations of a cover-up involving several arms of the State.
In 2010 the Garda serious crime unit re-opened the historic case but the two and a half year probe failed to result in any new charges or prosecutions being brought.
Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and the Attorney General are currently considering a report by senior counsel Dominic McGinn, who was commissioned to review the findings of the recent Garda probe into the 1985 cold case.
The Molloy family is seeking an independent commission of investigation to examine all aspects of the case.