Not Gathering Evidence



[Gemma O’Doherty’s investigation into the death of Fr Niall Molloy for the Irish Independent in 2010]

In December last year, Justice Minister Alan Shatter appointed barrister Dominic McGinn, SC, to examine how gardaí in the Garda Serious Crime Unit investigated the 1985 murder of Fr Niall Molloy in a house near Clara, Co. Offaly.

The Garda Serious Crime Review Team’s investigation – led by Detective Inspector Christy Mangan – was launched due to the work carried out by former Irish Independent journalist Gemma O’Doherty.

Following the Garda Serious Crime Review, the DPP determined in August last year that no further prosecutions should be made.

On Tuesday, Sinn Féin TD Gerry Adams asked Minister Shatter if Gemma O’Doherty will be interviewed by Mr McGinn in relation to his report.

Minister Shatter, in a roundabout way, said no.

He said:

As I have previously informed the House, Mr. Dominic McGinn, Senior Counsel, is at present carrying out an independent examination of the report of the Serious Crime Review Team relating to the Garda investigation into the death of Fr. Niall Molloy.

This independent examination will, in accordance with the terms of reference, comprise two main elements—
1. Counsel will examine what is a very detailed report that, for legal reasons, cannot be put into the public domain in its current form, and will prepare a report which can be put into the public domain on any issues of public interest which may arise from the report, and
2. Counsel will identify matters, if any, of significant public interest or concern that would warrant examination by a further inquiry and in respect of which such further inquiry would have a reasonable prospect of establishing the truth.

Accordingly, Mr. McGinn’s terms of reference involve an examination of the Garda Serious Crime Review Team’s report and not a new investigation or evidence gathering exercise. The Serious Crime Team report deals comprehensively with the issues of concern raised by the family and others as requiring further inquiry, including arising from detailed statements made to the Team by a representative of the family and the journalist referred to.

Mr. McGinn will be aware of these issues from his examination of the report and associated statements. A liaison officer has been appointed by An Garda Síochána to assist with any requests for clarification.

As I have previously stated, my priority is to allow the Senior Counsel to carry out the examination so that the maximum amount of information can be put into the public domain at the earliest possible date, at which point I will also of course fully consider the outcome of the examination concerning any further inquiry. While Mr. McGinn’s terms of reference require that he complete this examination as soon as possible, it is not possible to provide a precise timescale in this regard. I expect, however, that his work is well advanced at this point.

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