Leak of report into priest’s 1985 killing ‘a gross insult’

The family of a priest killed in suspicious circumstances 29 years ago has described the leaking of a government-commissioned report as a “gross insult”.

Relatives of Fr Niall Molloy, Co Roscommon, are seeking an urgent meeting with Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald following a series of communication blunders in relation to a report into the unsolved killing of their uncle in 1985.

The leaking of a report into the death of Fr Molloy to a Sunday newspaper has infuriated the family, who branded it as the “final insult”.

“The leaking of this report has added insult to injury. The department has repeatedly briefed the Dáil and media before briefing the family on how the report was progressing and now we see the findings of that report leaked in a Sunday newspaper; it’s a gross insult to the family and to Niall’s memory,” Bill Maher, a nephew of Fr Molloy, said.

“It was only a week or so ago that Minister Fitzgerald confirmed that the report was completed and with her department and the Attorney General.

“It was only through the media that we became aware of that fact and now 10 days on we see the report leaked.

“It really is the final insult for the family after 29 years of campaigning for the truth and for answers,” Mr Maher added.

The report was commissioned to examine the findings of a recent Garda probe into the 1985 cold case and is expected to determine whether a commission of investigation is warranted.

In 2010, the Garda serious crime unit re-opened the case but the two-and-a-half year probe failed to result in any prosecutions.

Gardaí indicated to the Molloy family in the final briefing that they would be strongly recommending a commission of investigation to ascertain all the facts surrounding the death.

The unsolved killing of Fr Molloy at the home of his friends, Richard and Therese Flynn, in Clara, Co Offaly, on July 8, 1985, has raised more questions than answers for almost 30 years.

It has led to allegations of a cover-up involving several arms of the State, as well as questions over the initial Garda investigation and the criminal trial that followed in 1986, in which Richard Flynn was acquitted.

The leaked report in The Sunday Times has attempted to pour cold water on claims that Gardai were involved in any cover-up.

In light of the leak, the family is seeking a meeting with Ms Fitzgerald as a matter of urgency.

“We don’t see any reason why the minister cannot meet with us now out of courtesy, in particular when the minister can find the time to meet with other families from other jurisdictions,” Mr Maher said.


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