Man cleared of Fr Molloy murder dies after illness

Richard Flynn leaving court in September 1985

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.

Father Niall Molloy22
Father Niall Molloy

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.

Irish Independent

‘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.

Barrister to review probe into death of Fr Molloy

Fr Niall Molloy shortly before his death./>
Fr Niall Molloy


A COLD case file on the mysterious death of Fr Niall Molloy (inset) almost 30 years ago is to be examined by barrister Dominic McGinn.


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Mr McGinn, a senior counsel, is to identify if there are any issues of “public interest or concern” in connection with the probe by theGarda Serious Crime Review Team (SCRT), Justice Minister Alan Shatterannounced.

As a result of the SCRT’s report, the Director of Public Prosecutions confirmed last August no new charges would be brought over the death of Fr Molloy.

But campaigners seeking justice for the Co Roscommon priest complained strenuously about the outcome.

Fr Molloy died in suspicious circumstances at a house near Clara, Co Offaly, in July 1985.

Mr Shatter published the terms of reference of Mr McGinn’s independent examination yesterday. The barrister is to “conduct a review” of the SCRT report, the terms state.

In the light of his review, he will prepare a report, which is to be published, “on any issues of public interest which may arise from the SCRT report”.

Mr McGinn will also “identify matters, if any, of significant public interest or concern which would warrant examination by a further inquiry”.

The terms indicate any further probe should have “a reasonable prospect of establishing the truth”.

Mr McGinn is to submit his review, together with a document identifying matters of public interest, to Mr Shatter “as soon as possible”.

While his appointment has not formally taken place, it is understood to be imminent.

When Mr Shatter initially revealed his intention to appoint a barrister, Fr Molloy’s family gave the announcement a guarded welcome.

The priest’s nephew, Bill Maher, said it was “a step in the right direction”, but expressed disappointment it would fall short of the commission of inquiry the family had sought.

The SCRT re-examination took place over the past three years.

Fr Molloy (52) was found beaten to death at the home of his friends Richard and Theresa Flynn in Clara on July 8, 1985.

Businessman Richard Flynn was charged with Fr Molloy’s manslaughter, but at the 1986 trial, Judge Frank Roe directed the jury to return a not guilty verdict — it later emerged the judge was a friend of the Flynns and had written to the then DPP before the trial stating he knew them.

Mr Flynn was acquitted at Dublin Circuit Court following defence counsel assertions the priest could have died from heart failure.

A later inquest found that Fr Molloy died of “sub-dural haemorrhage consistent with having sustained a serious injury to the head”.

Irish Independent


No charges to be brought over killing of Fr Molloy


NOBODY will face charges arising from the killing of Fr Niall Molloy almost 30 years ago.

Fr Niall Molloy: beaten to death

The Director of Public Prosecutions has concluded an examination of a garda file on the killing of the former parish priest of Castlecoote in Co Roscommon, and directed that no charges should be brought.

The decision was not unexpected. The garda cold-case investigation of the murder re-examined the major issues raised, as well as a number of fresh allegations, and produced no evidence of a new suspect.

The family of Fr Molloy said they would now press ahead with their demand for a commission of inquiry, to investigate all of the circumstances surrounding the priest’s death.

The 52-year-old priest was found beaten to death at the home of his friends Richard and Teresa Flynn in Clara, Co Offaly, on July 8, 1985.

Businessman Richard Flynn was charged with the manslaughter of Fr Molloy and causing actual bodily harm, but at the 1986 trial, Judge Frank Roe directed the jury to return a not-guilty verdict.

“We’re going to press ahead now for a commission of inquiry, which is what we always wanted”, Fr Molloy’s nephew, Bill Maher said.

Irish Independent


New pressure on Shatter for Molloy inquiry

 IRISH INDEPENDENT  GEMMA O’DOHERTY – 18 APRIL 2013Justice Minister Alan Shatter has come under renewed pressure to set up a public inquiry into the murder of Fr Niall Molloy (pictured).

Speaking in the Seanad yesterday, Roscommon senator John Kelly said the case was “the biggest cover-up in the history of the State”.

A media report this week claimed that a two-and-a-half year review by the Garda Cold Case Unit into the 1985 murder had recommended an independent inquiry into the killing of the 52-year-old priest, who was beaten to death following a society party in Clara, Co Offaly.

TD quizzes Kenny in Dail over probe into priest death

GEMMA O’DOHERTY – 13 MARCH 2013TAOISEACH Enda Kenny was quizzed yesterday in the Dail on the Fr Niall Molloy case as momentum grows for an independent inquiry into the priest’s killing

 South Tipperary deputy Mattie McGrath called on Mr Kenny to fulfil a pre-election pledge by Fine Gael and Labour to hold an inquiry into the Roscommon cleric’s death.

The Independent TD said there was an “ongoing scandal surrounding the priest’s unresolved murder” and that “all of the evidence points to a high-level cover-up of his death involving all institutions of the State, including elements of the gardai, the judiciary, politicians, the health service and the Catholic Church”.

The TD said the case “was fundamental to the pursuit of justice in our country in 2013” and that the Government “had to get to the bottom of the sordid affair”.

Fr Niall Molloy (52) was beaten to death in the Offaly mansion of his friends Therese and Richard Flynn in 1985 after a society party attended by senior members of Fianna Fail.

Three neuropathologists who examined his brain said he was left bleeding for up to six hours before help was sought.

Mr McGrath told the Dail that the priest’s watch was cracked and stopped at 10.40pm, but that the gardai were not contacted until 3.15am.

“What was happening during these vital hours?” he asked.

Calling for a “short, sharp independent inquiry”, the deputy said the initial garda probe was “a total shambles”.

Mr Kenny said he would “bring the facts raised to the attention of Minister (Alan) Shatter,” who is currently on tour in the Middle East.


Dr. Kate Flynn appeals for truth

Truth about Fr Molloy’s murder will rock the State- Irish Independent

THE biggest cover-up in the history of the State. That is how the brutal murder of Fr Niall Molloy in 1985 was described in the Seanad last week. Those words, of Roscommon Labour senator John Kelly, were reiterated this week by veteran murder squad detective Gerry O’Carroll.

A two-year investigation by this newspaper into the priest’s killing has exposed a litany of damning evidence and glaring inconsistencies which point to nothing less than a cover-up of staggering proportions, involving several institutions of the State and the Catholic Church.

Even now, almost three decades on, candles still burn for Fr Molloy in the Roscommon village of Castlecoote, where he is remembered as a devoted pastor to his people and a gentleman of the highest order.

A talented horseman, he was in the prime of his life when he was beaten to death in the Offaly mansion of his well-connected friends, Therese and Richard Flynn, shortly after a wedding party in their Clara home.

The priest had gone to the house requesting a large sum of money that was owed to him.

His battered body was left bleeding on the floor for up to six hours before help was called. By then, it was too late. But three of the country’s leading pathologists are certain that his life could have been saved if somebody had phoned 999.

Instead, the local parish priest of Clara, Fr James Deignan, was called to the house. He subsequently said he did not know 999 was an emergency call, and had ‘forgotten his glasses’ so he could not read the phonebook to call a local doctor.

Shortly before dawn, he went to the local garda barracks and asked Sergeant Kevin Forde if the priest’s death could be “kept quiet”.

Sgt Forde said it could not, but despite the officer’s best efforts on that summer’s night, a veil of silence fell over the truth about the priest’s murder and its shocking aftermath.

When the full facts are finally brought into the public domain, they will rock the foundations of the State.

After hearing the testimonies of dozens of individuals, this newspaper has uncovered a catalogue of shocking revelations.

Senior Fianna Fail politicians were in the house on the evening of the priest’s murder, one of them a well-known household name and close friend of the Flynns.

The original garda investigation was botched and shambolic.

Vital evidence was contaminated, bizarre statements were taken and given and key witnesses were never interviewed.

It has also been established that Fr Molloy was first attacked in the living room of the mansion, but his body was put in the Flynn’s master bedroom. To this day, gardai have failed to identify blood found on the bannisters of the stairs.

In the immediate aftermath of the murder, two other suspicious deaths took place of people believed to have witnessed the murder and who told friends they could not bear to be around when the truth came out.

THANKS to the courageous work of murdered journalist Veronica Guerin, we also know that Justice Frank Roe corrupted the subsequent trial, hearing the case even though he knew the parties involved. After the killing, Richard Flynn was charged with manslaughter, but Roe directed the jury to acquit him after less than four hours. It is widely believed that another individual was responsible for the killing.

The State’s files on the case have seen their share of drama too. The Offaly coroner’s one was burnt in a mysterious fire and ‘the General’ Martin Cahill stole the garda file from the offices of the DPP. Among the more alarming allegations, revealed by Veronica Guerin and crime writer Paul Williams, are details of a garda deal done with Cahill and his associate John Traynor in return for the stolen file.

These claims cast a slur on every serving member of An Garda Siochana, not to mention the integrity of the criminal justice system; yet Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has remained silent when questioned about them.

It is now more than two years since the Irish Independent presented most of its file to An Garda Siochana and Justice Minister Alan Shatter. At the time, he was in opposition but he made a pledge to the Molloy family that if he was in government an inquiry would be established in the interests of justice and the truth.

What the family and the public got was a garda examination whose pace has been shamefully slow and nothing less than mystifying on occasion.

It has left the Molloy family utterly disillusioned and many people in the midlands concerned that there is no urgency at all to take a violent killer off our streets or hold those responsible for the subsequent cover-up to account.

For almost two years, the Molloy family and this newspaper have been calling on Minister Shatter to uphold his promise and instigate an independent judicial inquiry to ensure that all of the disturbing allegations surrounding this case can be examined in a neutral forum.

The time is long overdue for him to grant this, not only because justice must be delivered for the family. But because the public that the minister serves have a right to know the truth, however shocking it will turn out to be.

Irish Independent

Detective hits out at denial of Fr Niall Molloy cover-up

Monday November 19 2012

ONE of Ireland’s most experienced detectives last night challenged garda claims that there is no evidence of a cover-up in the case of murdered priest Fr Niall Molloy.

Gerry O’Carroll, who worked on more than 80 murder cases, was responding to a story in yesterday’s Irish edition of the ‘Sunday Times’.

It said the Garda Cold Case Unit had “found no evidence to support allegations of a cover-up by gardai, politicians or judges”.

But Mr O’Carroll, a former detective inspector, said: “The Molloy case is the only one that I can put my hand on my heart and say was a massive cover-up.

“The Phoenix Park (garda HQ) tried to silence me when I got vital evidence about the case and attempted to investigate it myself.

“Two superintendents came in and searched my office. I told them nobody would silence me. When I joined the guards, I swore an oath of office that I would do my work without fear, favour, malice or ill-will.

“The gardai have a mountain of evidence. It must be taken out of their hands immediately and the Government must set up a judicial inquiry into this horrendous case.

“I want to get justice for Fr Molloy whose poor body was not only wrecked but whose reputation was tarnished for ever by a cock and bull story. The whole thing stinks to high heaven.”

Fr Molloy (52) was murdered at the home of his friends Richard and Therese Flynn in Co Offaly in July 1985, after requesting the return of a large sum of money owed to him.

The murder took place after a wedding party attended by several Fianna Fail politicians, including a household name.

Fr Molloy was first beaten up downstairs, then his battered body was placed in the bedroom of the couple’s Clara mansion.

The course of justice was interfered with by judge Frank Roe who heard the trial even though he knew the parties involved.

Kevin Forde, a retired sergeant from Clara who was the first officer on the scene on the night of the murder, described the original investigation into the priest’s death as the “strangest” he was ever involved in.

He was first informed about the murder by the town’s parish priest Fr James Deignan who asked him if it could be “kept quiet”.

Last night, Sgt Forde said: “The Gardai have very serious questions to answer about their handling of the Fr Molloy murder. There were so many inconsistencies. I would have grave concerns about the original investigation. Close neighbours who might have heard or seen something suspicious were never interviewed. There were no proper searches from what I could tell. Some blood samples from the scene were never identified.

“This was a very violent killing and we know Niall was left for several hours when help could have saved his life. That was the worst aspect of it. It is disgraceful that the family have been deprived of justice for so long and that a dangerous killer is still on the loose. The public deserve the truth at this stage.”

The Molloy family said last night they were “disgusted, but not surprised” by the Cold Case allegations.

They have been in touch with the office of the Garda Ombudsman in relation to the Sunday Times leak, why it was made and who made it.

Last week in the Seanad, their uncle’s murder was described as “the biggest cover-up in the history of the state”.

A number of government senators have tabled questions to Justice Minister Alan Shatterabout the case for this week.

Last night, Laois Offaly Labour senator John Whelan said:

“The reported contention by the Gardai that there is no evidence of any cover-up in relation to the Fr Niall Molloy case is hugely disappointing but hardly surprising. It only serves to underscore the urgent need now for an independent inquiry into this disturbing case and highlights once more the deficit of credibility of the Garda authorities investigating themselves.

“This is not in the interest of the force and its many committed and dedicated officers, who I am sure also want to see justice served.

“If the Garda cold case investigation is now concluded then there is no other recourse to restore confidence in the institutions of the State and ensure justice for Fr Molloy, his family and the community at large than for the Minister Shatter to establish as promised a commission of inquiry into this whole sordid affair.”

– Gemma O’Doherty

Irish Independent

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Insurance Claim not Investigated

Insurance form- claims Niall Molloy is a brother in law of Theresa Flynn

Insurance form- claims Niall Molloy is a brother in law of Theresa Flynn


Letter received by Insurance company

Letter received by Insurance company