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

IRISH INDEPENDENT

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.

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/deep-disappointment-for-fr-molloys-family-as-new-probe-ruled-out-31109946.html

Barrister to review probe into death of Fr Molloy

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

CORMAC MURPHY – 20 DECEMBER 2013

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

 

http://www.broadsheet.ie/2013/08/27/meanwhile-on-talbot-street-2/#comments

Meanwhile, On Talbot Street

No charges to be brought over killing of Fr Molloy

BRIAN MCDONALD AND TOM BRADY – 21 AUGUST 2013

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