Tuesday 17 September 2019

Priest was left to die for six hours, new evidence claims

Gemma O'Doherty

NEW medical evidence claims murdered priest Fr Niall Molloy, killed after a lavish society wedding 26 years ago, was left to die for at least six hours before help was sought.

The report, seen by the Irish Independent, was carried out by one of the country's top pathologists and is based on laboratory slides of the Roscommon cleric's brain.

The late priest's family said last night the new evidence confirmed their worst fears about their uncle's death in Clara, Co Offaly, which led to one of the most controversial trials in the history of the State.

They have always maintained that Fr Molloy, who died as a result of head injuries following a violent beating, could have been saved were it not for a long and unexplained delay in getting help.

"This dreadful new evidence proves what we have believed all along," Fr Molloy's nephew Bill Maher said last night.

"We have always known there were glaring inconsistencies about Niall's murder, especially when it came to the timing of his death."

Last December, an in-depth investigation by the Irish Independent revealed that the local sergeant in Clara had found the priest's watch cracked on his wrist on the night of his death, the hands stopped at 10.40. Gardai were not called to the scene until 3.15am, almost five hours later. This vital piece of evidence was not retained by the investigating team but handed back to the family.

Fr Molloy had just been voted Roscommon man of the year when his battered body was found in a pool of blood in the mansion of his close friends Richard and Theresa Flynn on July 8, 1985.

His death took place hours after their daughter Maureen's wedding, a VIP affair.

A year after the priest's death, Mr Flynn stood trial for his manslaughter, but the judge, the late Mr Justice Frank Roe, acquitted him after less than four hours. It later emerged that Mr Roe knew Richard Flynn and should never have heard the trial.

The Molloy family do not believe that Mr Flynn, now in his 80s and living in Moate, carried out the killing.

The Irish Independent investigation resulted in a review of the Molloy case by the gardai. It was led by Detective Superintendent Christy Mangan. Significant new evidence, much of it uncovered by this newspaper, was examined by the team.

After reading the Irish Independent file, Justice Minister Alan Shatter and his cabinet colleague Pat Rabbitte also promised a full public review of the case if the gardai failed to establish the full facts.


In June 2011, Det Supt Mangan presented an extensive report on the priest's killing to Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, but two months on, his office have failed to act on it.

"Both we and Niall's loyal parishioners have been waiting for nearly 30 years to find out why the full facts about his death were never revealed," said Mr Maher.

"It is up to Commissioner Callinan to act now on all of the information that has been given to him so that justice can be served and the people who carried out this horrendous killing are brought before the courts."

Irish Independent

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