The only man ever charged over the death of Roscommon priest Fr Niall Molloy was buried in Co Westmeath on Monday.
The Galway native was buried next to his late wife Theresa in TubberclairCemetery following midday funeral Mass at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Tubberclair, Glasson, Co Westmeath.
Fr Molloy (52) was found dead in Theresa and Richard Flynn’s home at Kilcoursey House, Clara, Co Offaly on July 8th, 1985. A friend of the Flynns, Fr Molloy had earlier attended the family home for their daughter’s wedding.
Mr Flynn was later tried for the priest’s manslaughter and assault and was acquitted on all charges after Judge Frank Roe directed the jury to find him not guilty.
Mr Flynn’s son David was tearful as he described his father as his best friend. He also spoke of his fathers sporting prowess, how he had captained both the junior and senior rugby teams while attending boarding school in Roscrea.
Mr Flynn went on to captain Connacht before an injury ended his rugby career when he was 25, he recalled.
David said his father had planned to emigrate to the United States but met and married his late wife in 1955 and stayed in Ireland.
Mr Flynn’s daughter Maureen spoke of an “amazing childhood” in Tubber where “the table was always set, the fridge was always full and Richard was always at the door wide open; a big greeting for everybody”.
She likened the farm to “going to an amusement park except it was just farming” and she recalled the wonderful childhood they had.
“Mum and Dad’s pals came for dinner constantly . . . we took it for granted all the coming and going and no matter how late at night Daddy would be at the door making sure everybody got to their car, directing them out the gate,” she told the mourners.
Maureen recalled as children not being allowed to fight. Her father would say, “Now, now little children love one another. We didn’t really know what it meant but it kind of stopped us somehow.”
After Mr Flynn’s wife died, he took it upon himself to keep the family traditions going, “the open house everything, the warmth and the love, the homeliness,” she added.
Mr Flynn’s grandchildren presented gifts at the beginning of the Mass. They included a photograph to show his love of family, a rugby ball as a token of his passion for sport, an Irish book to show his love of the language and a radio to indicate his love of current affairs and music.
He is survived by his second wife Ann, son David and daughters Maureen, Anita and Sandra.
The funeral is taking place of Richard Flynn, the Offaly man accused of the manslaughter of Father Niall Molloy at his home in Kilcoursey, Clara on 8 July 1985.
Mr Flynn and his wife Theresa were questioned by gardaí after the death of the Roscommon priest in the bedroom of their home in Co Offaly but the manslaughter charges against him never proceeded after a judge withdrew the case from a trial jury in June 1986.
Mr Flynn had been ill for several years and died over the weekend. His funeral is being held today in Tubberclair, Co Westmeath.
His remains will be interred afterwards beside those of his wife Theresa Flynn.
Dr. Kate Flynn appeals for truth
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.