Shatter asked to clarify phone calls relating to 1985 murder of priest

Shatter asked to clarify phone calls relating to 1985 murder of priest

Justice Minister Alan Shatter has been asked to clarify if phone calls to gardaí relating to the unsolved murder of Fr Niall Molloy in 1985 were recorded.

The family of the Co Roscommon priest has expressed concern over the possible recording of phonecalls between family members or their legal representatives and gardaí over the past 28 years.

The concerns come in the wake of an inquiry into the recording of calls to and from 26 garda stations since the 1980s. Bill Maher, a nephew of Fr Molloy, has written to Mr Shatter seeking clarification on whether gardaí have tapes of any such conversations relating to the killing of his uncle in Clara, Co Offaly in July 1985.

Mr Maher also requested any recordings from 1985 on, or more recently since the Fr Molloy cold case was reopened, be given to the family. In addition to questions over the initial garda investigation and the criminal trial that followed in 1986, the case has also led to allegations of a cover-up involving several arms of the State.

Last year the DPP said no charges or prosecutions would be brought after a garda cold case review in 2010. Senior counsel Dominic McGinn has now been commissioned to examine the findings of the garda serious crime unit review. However, the Molloy family are continuing to press for an independent commission of investigation and a meeting with Mr Shatter.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Maresa Fagan nominated for NNI award

Roscommon Herald Journalist Maresa Fagan has been nominated for an award in next weeks NNI Journalism Awards in the category “NNI Regional Journalist of the Year”. Good Luck and many thanks for  your continued coverage of our  Campaign for Justice for Niall.

No political cover-up in Fr Molloy case – Leyden

ROSCOMMON HERALD – Maresa Fagan 15/10/2013
No political cover-up in Fr Molloy case – Leyden

– Lenihan’s were not present at party

Senior Fianna Fail politicians were not present at an after-wedding party at Kilcoursey House on the night that Fr Niall Molloy was killed in July 1985, Senator Terry Leyden has said.

Senator Leyden was speaking at a public meeting in Castlecoote last week, where renewed calls were made for an independent commission of investigation into the circumstances surrounding Fr Molloy’s death.

The Castlecoote-based senator and parishioner dismissed ‘allegations’ that the late Brian Lenihan, then a senior party figure, and his wife Ann, had been present at Kilcoursey House on the night of Fr Molloy’s death.

“Minister Brian Lenihan and his wife Ann were present at the wedding; that is true. … They left on Saturday evening at six or seven o’clock and I checked this today with Ann Lenihan and she wants me to say that tonight,” Senator Leyden told the meeting last week.

“They were not present on the Sunday, which has been alleged by some journalists,” he added.

Senator Leyden subsequently confirmed to the Herald that no Fianna Fail politician to his knowledge was present at Kilcoursey House on the night of Fr Molloy’s murder and he also dismissed any speculation of a political cover-up.

Indeed the Fianna Fail Senator pointed the finger instead at the judiciary and church when he spoke at the public meeting in his local parish hall last week.

Senator Leyden said that revelations in more recent years indicated that Justice Frank Roe, now deceased, should never have heard the criminal trial that followed Fr Molloy’s death.

“He knew the family involved and should never have taken the case, that’s absolutely right … alone that much would require a public inquiry,” he said.

He said that the church hierarchy had sought to “hush-up” the Fr Molloy case and refuted any political involvement: “It was the judiciary and the hierarchy that were involved in this case as opposed to politicians, which it is alleged. Politicians were not involved to my knowledge”.

Senator Leyden further told the meeting that he questioned Justice Roe following the acquittal of Richard Flynn for the manslaughter of Fr Molloy in 1986.

Judge Roe, he said, had indicated that a doubt had been raised over the cause of death during evidence from state pathologist Professor John Harbison.

Under cross examination Professor Harbison had conceded that it was possible that a heart condition may have contributed to Fr Molloy’s death.

This, Senator Leyden told the meeting, was Judge Roe’s “out” from the trial: “When Roe got that word, Roe was out. He knew how to get out”.

The Fianna Fail stalwart also said that it was generally accepted that “the wrong man was on trial” for Fr Molloy’s death.

Meanwhile Senator Leyden indicated that he had recently raised the Fr Molloy case with Minister Michael Noonan, who had been Minister for Justice at the time of the Castlecoote priest’s death.

The Fianna Fail Senator revealed that Minister Noonan had registered some concerns about the case with the Secretary General of the Department of Justice some time after Fr Molloy’s death.

“He was told by a TD from Laois/Offaly at the time that no-one ever will stand trial for this murder. I won’t name that person now but the Minister told me himself. He was so concerned he went to the Secretary General of the Department of Justice to report what was said to him,” Senator Leyden said.

Since last week’s meeting Senator Leyden clarified that he did not have any evidence to offer in the case but he pledged his full support for an independent commission of investigation into the circumstances surrounding Fr Molloy’s death 28 years ago.

Conor Lenihan praises  Judge shortly after controversial trial

Conor Lenihan praises Judge shortly after controversial trial

No Prosecutions – Roscommon Herald

No prosecutions following Fr Molloy review

– Family to step up campaign for commission of investigation

The family of murdered Castlecoote priest Fr Niall Molloy is set to step up its campaign for an independent commission of investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death 28 years ago.

The decision comes after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) recently advised Gardai that no prosecutions would arise out of a cold case review carried out by them on foot of new evidence and information.

The review of issues raised about Fr Molloy’s brutal death on July 8th 1985 at Kilcoursey House in Clara, County Offaly was instigated in 2010.

Senior members of An Garda Siochana met with representatives of the Molloy family last week to confirm that the review had been completed and that the file was forwarded to the office of the DPP.

Detective Chief Superintendent Padraig Kennedy and Detective Superintendent Christy Mangan informed nephews of Fr Molloy, Henry McCourt and Bill Maher, that the DPP had advised that no prosecutions would follow from the review.

While the family are disappointed that the Garda review will not lead to any prosecutions they say that the decision has now cleared the way for an independent commission of investigation.

“We’re happy that it is now finished and that it will not go on for another six months or more. A decision has now been made and we can now move on to push for an independent commission of investigation,” Henry McCourt, a nephew of Fr Molloy told the Herald.

Mr McCourt intends to write to the Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter, and TDs in counties Roscommon, Offaly and throughout the country, this week to seek a commission of investigation.

He also intends to seek the support of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin for such an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of the 52-year-old cleric in 1985.

Mr McCourt, a practising solicitor, explained that under the 2004 Commissions of Investigation Act a government minister could seek the support of the Dail to “investigate any matter considered by the Government to be of significant public concern”.

“Now is the time for politicians to indicate which way they are going to go. I think that individually there is quite a bit of support but what would concern me is that the party line could be taken and scupper any chances of getting an investigation,” Mr McCourt said.

He said that the case would “not go away” and that too many important questions remained unanswered 28 years on.

“For a certain sector of the population it is probably too long ago and it’s probably a concern that it would cost money in the current economic climate but we want an independent commission of investigation not a public inquiry,” Mr McCourt said.

“There is so much in this sad and sorry case that it’s very important to have an investigation; there are many important questions that need to be answered from a civilised society point of view,” he added.

Maresa Fagan

Roscommon Herald      20/8/2013