The nephew of a Roscommon priest murdered in Clara almost 28 years ago has said he’s heartened after a meeting in Leinster House on Wednesday afternoon pushing for an independent inquiry into the case was strongly supported.
Senators John Whelan from Laois and John Kelly from Roscommon organised Wednesday’s meeting, which was attended by upwards of 70 public representatives.
Fifty-two-year-old Roscommon priest Fr Niall Molloy died after a wedding in Clara in 1985, but nobody has ever been convicted in relation to his death.
“There was a large show of public representatives there,” Fr Molloy’s nephew Bill Maher told the Westmeath Independent. “I was surprised and delighted by it. It was very heartening.”
The official part of the meeting began at 2.30pm and ran for approximately half an hour according to Mr Maher. Those gathered for the meeting didn’t disperse until approximately 4pm however, and Mr Maher remained at Leinster House to meet TDs who were unable to make the meeting until about 8pm. “There was great interest,” Mr Maher said. “Micheál Martin was there, Charlie Flanagan was there.”
Speaking about the meeting, organiser Senator Whelan said an independent inquiry into Fr Molloy’s death is vital. “There is an urgent need for justice, accountability and transparency, as well as much needed closure for the community at large, and as such we are calling for the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter to open an independent inquiry into the death of Fr Niall Molloy,” he said.
“There remains considerable public disquiet surrounding this killing, even though many years have passed. We believe that in the interest of justice, the case must be looked at again. We feel that this sorry saga is a blight on our criminal justice system, and that if it had happened to an Irish national in any other country, we would be rightly incensed and actively demanding answers.
“It is quite obvious that there are people out there who do know exactly what happened that night and they still have the opportunity to come forward and ensure that justice is served.” Senator Whelan said he and Senator Kelly arranged Wednesday’s meeting to inform Oireacthas members and the press of the details of the saga, and also to ask for their assistance in applying pressure for an independent inquiry to be held as soon as possible.
“I’m cynical after nearly 28 years but I got great encouragement from the support, which I have no doubt but was genuine,” Mr Maher said. “I still feel like I did years ago, that the only way is an independent commission,” he continued, adding that now “the buck rests with Alan Shatter”.