Shatter orders review of Fr Molloy killing
THE family of Fr Niall Molloy, killed in mysterious circumstances almost 30 years ago, have given a guarded welcome to Justice Minister Alan Shatter's plan to appoint a barrister to examine a garda cold-case report on the matter.
The priest's nephew, Bill Maher, said Mr Shatter's announcement is "a step in the right direction", but expressed disappointment it falls short of the commission of inquiry the family has asked for.
The Garda Serious Crime Review Team re-examined the circumstances surrounding Fr Molloy's death over the last three years and produced a report, but the Director of Public Prosecutions has instructed that no charges be brought.
Mr Shatter said it is not garda practice to make such a report public but it is especially sensitive because it "contains unsubstantiated claims against named persons".
He announced last night that he is consulting with the Attorney General about appointing a senior counsel to conduct an "independent examination" of the report.
He said the barrister will then draw up a report into Fr Molloy's mystery death that can be put into the public domain "in the interests of transparency".
Responding to the announcement, Mr Maher told the Irish Independent: "Why not just appoint a senior legal person to do the commission of inquiry because that's all it would entail, a judge or a retired judge to sit down and go through everything."
He said he still believes the truth about his uncle's killing will emerge adding: "I wouldn't be doing this 28 years on if I didn't."
Fr Molloy, the 52-year-old parish priest of Castlecoote in Co Roscommon, was found beaten to death at the home of his friends Richard and Teresa Flynn in Clara, Co Offaly, on July 8, 1985.
Businessman Richard Flynn was charged with Fr Molloy's manslaughter, but at the 1986 trial, Judge Frank Roe directed the jury to return a not-guilty verdict – it later emerged the judge was a friend of the Flynns and had written to the then DPP before the trial stating he knew them.
Since the trial, Mr Flynn has said his conscience is clear.