A new book on recently pardoned Harry Gleeson, who was hanged for a murder he didn’t commit, is causing major controversy because it names the fathers of the children of the murder victim.
The victim had six surviving children, born to at least five different men. Most — if not all — of the men were married, and a number of their children through marriage still live locally and are only now learning that their fathers had other children outside marriage.
Moll McCarthy was shot dead in November 1940, and her neighbour Harry Gleeson was hanged in Mountjoy for her murder the following April.
A review of the case completed early this year found he was innocent of the crime, and he was awarded a posthumous pardon.
Local sources in the New Inn area of Tipperary wrote to both the author and publisher of The Framing Of Harry Gleeson demanding to see the manuscript prior to publication on the basis that it was believed — correctly — to contain the names of the fathers and of those whom the author believes to be responsible for the murders.
One of the communications was made through a solicitor’s letter demanding prior viewing of the manuscript.
“[Moll] had different fathers for most, if not all, of the children,” says author Kieran Fagan. “Obviously the descendants of those fathers are still living in the area and they don’t want it out there that their father or grandfather or uncle was having sexual relations with Moll McCarthy while married.
Then you also have the descendants of some of the instigators of the framing of Harry Gleeson and the cover-up involved in that.”
The author also emphasises that other descendants of the alleged murderers co-operated with him.
The Framing Of Harry Gleeson has been available since earlier this week, and one local source who has now read it suggests “it will cause some serious consternation in the area here”.
The naming of the fathers of Moll’s children is exacerbated by the fact that, while there is no dispute over the five eldest children, the parentage of the youngest is still a matter of debate locally.
One of the fathers named is also fingered in the book as being involved in the murder, although the motive is not ascribed to this liaison with the victim.
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