There have been renewed calls this week for a Commission of Investigation to be set up in the case of Roscommon priest Fr. Niall Molloy, who died under violent circumstances at a house in Clara, Co. Offaly in 1985.
Father Niall Molloy was killed in mysterious circumstances at Kilcoursey House, the home of Richard and Theresa Flynn. Richard Flynn, who admitted assaulting Fr. Molloy, was later tried for manslaughter, but Judge Frank Roe directed the jury to find him not guilty because the priest suffered from a heart condition and it wasn’t clear what had caused his death.
An inquest established that the 52-year-old had died from head injuries and it later emerged that Judge Roe was a friend of the Flynns.
Father Molloy had been friends with the Flynns, who regularly stayed in Castlecoote where he was parish priest. He shared an interest in horses with the couple. It also later emerged that he was a business partner of Mrs. Flynn. Both Richard and Theresa Flynn have since passed away.
This week, in the wake of a two-part RTÉ documentary detailing his death, Fr. Molloy’s nephew, Bill Maher, has called for a Commission of Investigation to be set up. He was critical of politicians, whom he said had promised to fight for a new investigation before being elected and (claimed Mr. Maher) losing interest in the case.
“There are people alive today who know what happened and if a Commission of Investigation is established they will be compelled to speak and then we might get the truth and maybe justice,” he said.
Calls for a Commission of Investigation have been echoed by both Sinn Féin TD Martin Kenny and Fianna Fáil Senator Eugene Murphy this week.
Deputy Kenny, who is Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Justice, commended Father Molloy’s relatives for their “unwavering and dignified campaign for answers”.
“This death occurred in circumstances which have never been adequately explained or investigated. The facts of the case have been consistently covered up in order to protect the well-connected,” he claimed.
“When you go to court, you may, on a good day, get justice. What you should always get, at the very least, is law. Fr. Molloy’s family have been provided with neither”.
Senator Murphy said he fully supported the family’s call for the Government to establish the Commission.
“There are issues about missing files, the strong possibility that Fr. Molloy did not die of a heart attack, questions as to where the attack took place, and documentation which clearly showed Fr. Molloy and Theresa Flynn as brother and sister, which was clearly not true,” he said.
Senator Murphy said he was surprised that then Minister for Justice Alan Dukes had stated on the RTÉ documentary that it was “time to call a halt and move on”.
“A family have lost a loved one in very tragic circumstances and we must never call a halt in such situations in the hope that we get some clearer answers,” he concluded.