FG and Labour vow to reopen probe into killing of priest
Published 17/11/2010 | 05:00
Fine Gael and Labour last night pledged to order a full review into the killing of Fr Niall Molloy after reading a devastating Irish Independent file on the case.
Alan Shatter and Pat Rabbitte, justice spokesmen for the opposition parties, said it would be a priority if they were in power after the next election.
They made their promise after being shown details of this newspaper's investigation into the brutal slaying of the Roscommon priest, who was beaten to death in the home of his friend Richard Flynn in Clara, Co Offaly, in 1985.
The killing occurred in the wake of Mr Flynn's daughter's lavish wedding whose guests included the late Brian Lenihan, former Minister for Justice and father of ministers Brian and Conor Lenihan.
The post-mortem on Fr Molloy's body found that he had been violently beaten and died as a result of brain swelling resulting from multiple blows to the head.
A year after the priest's death, Mr Flynn stood trial for his manslaughter, but the judge, Mr Justice Frank Roe, acquitted him after less than four hours on the grounds that Fr Molloy may have died of a heart attack that occurred prior to the beating.
It later emerged that Mr Roe knew Richard Flynn and should never had heard the trial.
A subsequent inquest confirmed that the priest died as a result of head injuries.
Last night, the family of Fr Molloy said they were overjoyed by the opposition pledge to reopen the case.
As pressure mounts on Justice Minister Dermot Ahern to order an immediate review of the killing, the Irish Independent has learned that the minister has requested a new report on the case from gardai on foot of our investigation.
Today, he will face questions on the matter in the Dail from FG TD Alan Shatter.
Deputies Shatter and Rabbitte said they were shocked by the new revelations which include:
- A damning statement by former circuit court Judge Gerard Buchanan about the late Mr Justice's Roe decision to hear the Flynn trial.
- A witness testimony from the friend of a prominent surgeon. The surgeon told his friend that he was in the house where Fr Molloy was killed on the night of his death. The surgeon died six months after Fr Molloy's death.
- An interview with Sgt Kevin Ford, the first officer to inspect Fr Molloy's body on the night of his death. He states that the watch on the priest's wrist was cracked, its hands stopped at 10.40pm. Sgt Ford's station was not contacted about Fr Molloy's death until 3.15am.