In late 2010, following media reporting and representations made on behalf of the family of the late Fr Molloy, a major examination was initiated under the direction of the Garda Serious Crime Review Team. This involved an extensive examination of the original investigation into his death as well as detailed enquiries into issues subsequently raised. During the period of the Team’s investigation additional issues were also raised and all of these have been the subject of examination and investigation by the Review Team. The Team’s report was submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions earlier this year. She subsequently advised that, on the basis of the papers provided, there be no further prosecution in this matter. Subsequently, the Garda Commissioner submitted a report to me on the matter.
Upon assuming office as Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, because of my knowledge of issues raised, I emphasised the importance of all such issues being comprehensively examined and investigated and I welcome the fact that the case has been reviewed extensively by the Garda Serious Crime Review Team. The Director of Public Prosecutions has now determined that no further prosecution should be taken arising out of the death of Fr Molloy. Many claims have been made regarding the death of Fr Molloy, and I am anxious to put as much information into the public domain as is possible and appropriate in order to address these claims. However, it is not open to me to publish the Report of the Garda Serious Crime Review Team. First, it is, quite properly, not the practice to publish Garda reports of criminal investigations and second, the report contains unsubstantiated allegations against named persons.
I am conscious that to leave the matter at that would allow baseless assertions to be made that the Government has some interest in suppressing information about this case when, in fact, what is at issue is having due regard to the rule of law; the independence of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions; and protecting the rights of all.
In the circumstances, I informed the Cabinet today that I am consulting with the Attorney General with a view to the appointment of a Senior Counsel to conduct an independent examination of the Report of the Serious Crime Review Team into this case. In the light of this examination the Senior Counsel will be asked to do two things.
1. To prepare a report which can be put into the public domain on any issues of public interest which may arise from the report, having regard to the rights of all those involved.
2. To identify whether there are matters of significant public concern arising from this examination and, if so, whether any form of further inquiry, aside from the criminal investigation, would have a reasonable prospect of establishing the truth of such matters and would be warranted in the public interest, taking into account the fact that it is the function of the criminal justice system to investigate criminal acts.
I am taking this step solely in the interests of transparency and of bringing the advice of an independent person into consideration of this matter. I should emphasise that it does not imply in any way that I am dissatisfied with the work undertaken by the Garda Serious Crime Review Team.
5 November 2013