Fr Niall Molloy’s family still determined to resolve riddle of his death 30 years ago

Family looking for commission of inquiry ‘to examine all aspects of the case’

Fr Niall Molloy, who died in July 1985: the State Pathologist said the primary cause of death was head injuries, but confirmed that he had a diseased heart and his cardiac condition could have contributed to his death

The family of the late Fr Niall Molloy are “as committed as ever” to resolve the circumstances surrounding his death. His nephew, Bill Maher says the entire family was 100 per cent behind the campaign to have the priest’s controversial death 30 years ago examined in the greatest possible detail.

Mr Maher was speaking as members of Fr Molloy's extended family and parishoners gathered in Castlecoote Co Roscommon to mark the 30th anniversary of his death. The parish priest was found dead in the home of his friends, Richard and Theresa Flynn, at Kilcoursey House, Clara, Co Offaly, on July 8th, 1985.

Richard Flynn was later found not guilty by direction of the trial judge of unlawfully killing Fr Molloy (52) during a bedroom row over drink. While Mr Justice Frank Roe described it as "a great tragedy", there had not been one iota of evidence to suggest there had been anything improper in the relationship between Fr Molloy and the Flynns. They had been friends for 30 years.

State Pathologist Dr John Harbison said the primary cause of death was head injuries, but confirmed that Fr Molloy had a diseased heart and his cardiac condition could have contributed to his death.


His family have repeatedly called for a full public inquiry into his death and said that the greatest injustice done to him, apart from the taking of his life, was “the damage done to his good name by the calculated and vicious leaking of false innuendo to sully his reputation”.

In a statement they said that while they may have lost faith in the State’s institutions, they had never lost faith in the intrinsic goodness of the Irish people and their belief that one day, someone “would look to their conscience, and once and for all reveal the truth”.

Last year, the Government commissioned Dominic McGinn SC to examine a review of the case by the Garda’s serious crime team. Mr McGinn concluded that the precise truth of the events of July 7th-8th, 1985, could not be ascertained. While a number of issues of public interest had been identified, Mr McGinn found that it was unlikely that any further inquiry would have a reasonable prospect of establishing the truth.

Yesterday, Mr Maher confirmed that the family last week met the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and handed her a number of documents in connection with the case.

“We were unhappy with the terms of reference for the McGinn report and we are still looking for a commission of inquiry to examine all aspects of the case. If there is a commission, then people called will be compelled to talk to it. I’m hopeful that Frances Fitzgerald will go down that route as we believe there were some glaring inadequacies right down along the line,” Mr Maher said.

Family members of the late Fr Molloy travelled from across the country for the anniversary Mass in Castlecoote, which was celebrated by his nephew, Fr Billy Molloy. Prayers were said afterwards at Fr Molloy’s grave.