Saturday 25 March 2017

Gardai to probe evidence on priest's death

Gemma O'Doherty

A NUMBER of individuals who hold key information about the death of a priest 25 years ago say they are keen to hand it over to gardai.

Several people who gave vital new evidence to the Irish Independent about the brutal killing of Fr Niall Molloy hope to hear from the gardai as a matter of priority.

Fr Molloy (52) was found beaten to death at the home of his friends Richard and Teresa Flynn in the wake of a lavish society wedding in Offaly in 1985.

Detective Superintendent Christy Mangan, head of the cold case unit, has been appointed by Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy to examine fresh details contained in a recent Irish Independent investigation.

The Molloy family, who have fought for more than 20 years to have the case reopened, hope the new information will convince authorities to reopen the case.

In recent days, there were calls in the Dail for an immediate review of the case on foot of the Irish Independent probe.

Last week, Det Supt Mangan's unit interviewed two individuals who came forward with new evidence relating to the killing.

Details of the newspaper's file have been given to the gardai. They include the names of individuals who hold information about Fr Molloy's final hours, including a sighting of the priest in the immediate period before he was attacked.

New details have also emerged about the condition of the body at the crime scene.

The people who hold this crucial information say they were not interviewed by gardai at the time of the original investigation.

Last week in the Dail, opposition justice spokesmen Alan Shatter of Fine Gael and Labour's Pat Rabbitte called for a full re-examination of the case.

But Justice Minister Dermot Ahern stated that this was a matter entirely for the gardai.

This was disputed by Mr Rabbitte who said a Commission of Investigation into the case could be instigated by Mr Ahern.

Both Fine Gael and Labour have pledged to carry out a full review of the case if they are in power after the next election.

The Molloy family have written to Commissioner Murphy requesting the reopening of the case before his imminent retirement.

"Niall was a wonderful, gentle human being who never hurt another soul," said Bill Maher, Fr Molloy's nephew, last night.

"Our family will never give up fighting to find out the full facts surrounding his horrendous killing. In light of all the new evidence, we urge the gardai to act now and reopen the case immediately."

Irish Independent

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