Death of Niall Molloy

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Father Niall Molloy (14 April 1933 - 8 July 1985) was a Catholic priest who was killed in mysterious circumstances in Kilcoursey House in Clara, County Offaly, the home of Richard and Therese Flynn. When the Garda Síochána arrived, they found that there were signs of violence in the Flynn's bedroom and that there was a large bloodstain on the carpet. The priest died the day after the wedding of the Flynns' daughter Maureen.[1] Flynn was charged with manslaughter and with actual bodily harm, but the judge at his trial, a family friend, directed the jury to give a 'not guilty' verdict. In 2011, a medical examination of brain tissue kept after the original post-mortem revealed that there was a high probability that the priest was alive up to six hours after the initial attack and therefore may have lived if medical help had been summoned. Molloy was parish priest of Castlecoote, County Roscommon at the time of his death.[2]

Richard Flynn trial[edit]

During Richard Flynn's trial, the defense council said that it was possible that Father Molloy had died from heart failure, this led Judge Frank Roe---a "great friend" of the families involved---to direct the jury less than four hours after the hearing began to return a verdict of not guilty.[3] Subsequent to the trial, a coroner's inquest found that Father Molloy had died from a "sub-dural haemorrhage consistent with having sustained a serious injury to the head".

Connections with Flynn family[edit]

Fr. Niall Molloy was originally from County Roscommon.[4] He had been friends with Therese Flynn since childhood, and they had shared an interest in horses. In the 1960s, Father Molloy inherited IR£60,000 from his father, which he used to start in business. He had been business partners with Therese Flynn and they had owned horses and land jointly. Father Molloy had a room in Kilcoursey House, the house owned by the Flynns.[5][6]

Files on case[edit]

The Director of Public Prosecutions' case files on this death were among other files stolen by "The General", Martin Cahill. Details from the files were later published by Veronica Guerin in The Sunday Independent, revealing a possible conflict of interest by the presiding judge in the trial of Richard Flynn.[4][7]

Later developments[edit]

In 2010 two people were questioned in relation to the death of Father Molloy.[8][9][10][11]

In 2011 new medical evidence claimed that several hours passed between the fatal injury and help being sought.[1] In 2012 Gardaí confirmed that members of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation were investigating the priests' death as the result of new evidence.[12] Valuable items belonging to the priest, including several paintings and a horse vanished after his death.[13][14] A surgeon and a Fianna Fáil politician had also been present at the house the night the priest died.[14] It also emerged that the judge had known the defendant in the trial and should not have heard the trial.[1] The Molloy family do not believe that Richard Flynn killed Father Molloy.[1]

In August 2013 the Director of Public Prosecutions finished a review of a Garda investigation into the killing and announced that no charges would be brought.[15][16][17] His family have said that they will press for a commission of inquiry into his death.[15][17]


  1. ^ a b c d O'Doherty, Gemma (12 August 2011). "Priest was left to die for six hours, new evidence claims". Irish Independent. 
  2. ^ "Fr Niall: why we'll never stop our fight for justice". Irish Independent. 22 September 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2012. 
  3. ^ "Judge hits at colleague over priest killing case". Irish Independent. 30 July 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Tallant, Nicola (24 September 2006). "Mystery of priest's violent death". Irish Independent. Retrieved 4 July 2010. 
  5. ^ Collins, Liam (30 December 2001). "Mystery of priest's violent end casts shadow over time". Irish Independent. Retrieved 3 July 2010. 
  6. ^ "Site Fact Sheet - Kilcoursey House". National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. Retrieved 3 July 2010. 
  7. ^ Mac Donncha, Garry. "Scannal! The Killing of a Priest". RTÉ. Retrieved 3 July 2010. 
  8. ^ McDonagh, Patricia (18 November 2010). "Gardaí quiz pair over death of priest". Irish Independent. 
  9. ^ O'Doherty, Gemma (17 November 2010). "FG and Labour vow to reopen probe into killing of priest". Irish Independent. 
  10. ^ O'Doherty, Gemma (23 October 2010). "Family seek fresh probe in priest's death as new evidence uncovered". Irish Independent. 
  11. ^ O'Doherty, Gemma (22 November 2010). "Gardaí to probe evidence on priest's death". Irish Independent. 
  12. ^ "Gardaí confirm new probe into priest's death in Clara". Offaly Independent. 21 September 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2012. 
  13. ^ O'Doherty, Gemma (22 September 2012). "Murdered priest's horse and paintings vanished after death". Irish Independent. Retrieved 17 October 2012. 
  14. ^ a b O'Doherty, Gemma (20 September 2012). "Dramatic new moves in Fr Molloy murder investigation". Irish Independent. Retrieved 17 October 2012. 
  15. ^ a b O'Reilly, Brian (20 August 2013). "DPP confirms no new charges in death of Fr Niall Molloy". Irish Independent. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  16. ^ "The Troublesome Priest". 23 August 2013. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  17. ^ a b McDonald, Brian (21 August 2013). "DPP rules out charges in Fr Niall Molloy killing". The Irish Times. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 

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