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The Killing of Fr Niall Molloy



  • Lenihans afaik there for wedding and left that day so not in Kilcoursey on day of Fr Molloy's death. Aside from Richard and Therese- Richard's aunt May lived in the house and at least one employee. 'C' who acted as a groom for the Molloy/Flynn horse buying business. Richard/Therese/ Niall went to the Goodbodys who lived locally and had been at wedding and had asked the trio around for a drink. The drinks at Goodbodys ended c9pm. 8-10 members of wedding group including a number of Flynns and in-laws were in White's pub that night for some of the evening albeit almost certainly not for as long as they later claimed.

  • The bride and groom were also at whites pub that night

  • Molloy inherited/ was gifted £60,000-£65,000 in the mid 1960s which is perhaps €750,000 in today's values. He obviously had no children and lived in accommodation provided by the church after the age of 25 or so and invested his money. The Flynn/Molloy horses were said to be worth c£70,000 in 1985 - perhaps €250,000 in today's values ? There was land- some plot of land near a by-pass mentioned in the 1987 Today Tonight episode which has been mentioned on this thread. The general reports since 1985 also refer to jointly owned shares but whether this was (say) £100 in Bank of Ireland shares or a 5 figure share portfolio others will have to advise I have never seen any figures.

  • If the property and shares,bank a/c were jointly owned and in most cases doesn't the surviving joint owner take control of those assets then...and in this instance,Therese Flynn.

  • Not in every case and possibly not at all. The plot of land referred to in the 1987 Today Tonight show was held as tenants in common rather than by way of a joint tenancy. One of Fr. Molloy's nephews was interviewed on the show and said that the first the family had heard of this was through the journalist i.e Therese Flynn had not told the relatives of her close deceased friend that there was valuable land to go to his family.

    Post edited by Spencer101 on

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  • I seen that now ....seems though they had still had a joint bank a/c....I wonder was that cleared out..... amazing they bought the 68 acres back then for £13000 and sold 26 acres for £21000

  • Yes. Tubber is in Co Offaly just inside the Offaly/ Westmeath border. The village is halfway between the town of Clara in Offaly and the town of Moate in Westmeath.

  • So would the fact that the trio went to the Goodbodys for drinks and were back by 9 then mean that there was surely no guests left in Kilcoursey when they left for the drinks so there was no audience that many mantain in the house that night when the assault took place.

    Another question is how did the Flynn family from Galway end up with 400 acres of land in Tubber Co Offaly if it is that Tubber?

  • I distinctly recall, from a previous documentary, Fr. Molloy had bank accounts with six figure sums in them. Fr. Flynn was a wealthy man. What a foolish investment horses are.

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  • It would appear the horses were appreciating in value. He reportedly had a very good eye for horses.

    His foolishness might be in the lack of paperwork. He should have had drawn up a Partnership Agreement. Had a separate solicitor to Theresa Flynn. Receipts for everything. Either kept comprehensive books himself or had a bookeeper. Legal provsions, how was the business to be wound up, who got what.

    You could say he had the financial complacency you might expect from someone who grew up in wealth. He had never experienced lack or poverty. So not the fear or caution many of us might have. Was firstly of a spiritual nature than a materialistic but in any event inheriting suficient funds that he never had to worry about budgeting or minding his money.

    The casual, informal financial relationship probably worked quiet well while both he and the Flynns were flush. As they were for a long time - the 70s. Why on either side would anyone worry about coppers when everyone was doing well and they were all friends. That notwithstanding he may have been putting more into the business than the Flynns were even in the good times.

    The bad times came in the early eighties. The Flynns would now have cash flow problems. Also coinciding with Molloy getting on a bit and contemplating his retirement in the mid eighties. Was the limit of his personal funds coming in sight. And the assumption that he could always get money back out of his equine business now appearing very problematic.

    Money does seem a strong point tention and motivation here. Although it's not certain.

  • The majority of people around Clara were shocked to find out he was a priest because he never wore the uniform and was always in the company of Mrs Flynn, they say he had a room in kilcorsey house more like Richard Flynn had a room if you ask me. Furthermore the reason fr Molloy didn’t have a formal financial relationship with Mrs Flynn was because they were lovers and therefore never felt the need to formalize anything financially

  • Do you believe that some or all of the four children may have been Molloy's?

    There's a real problem with this scenario as to why Richard would willingly put himself in the role of cuckold.

    What are the motivations and reasonings for Richard here. It's hard to come up with a reasonable explanation.

    Also whilst the outside world might have been intimidated by these monied class and not peered into their affairs too closely there would surely be an internal maelstrom. The children, the house staff - you could not keep such a bizarre arrangement secret. And surely it would create an intolerable strain with the children.

    I don't mean to shoot down the theory out of hand. Just it leaves some big questions unanswered.

  • I dont think Fr Molloy and Theresa were lovers - I think the Flynns just seen Fr Molloy as a money tap pure and simple. Richard was happy to exploit the friendship his wife had with Fr Molloy. They knew he was wealthy and not savvy enough to get proper legal or financial advice before giving them money - he was a very useful 'friend' for the Flynns to have as he probably bailed them out several times over the years.

    In many ways if Richard did say they were lovers it would have worked better for him - it would have changed public opinion to poor poor Richard Flynn and bad bad Fr Molloy carrying on with a married woman. If they done this Richard would have been seen as the victim. Im guessing that possibly Richard knew there would be other people who could prove this false - possibly Fr Molloy was'nt into women at all.

  • There is a slight variation in the time line as to whether they left the Goodbodys at 9pm or 915pm. That part I put down to who exactly on the weekend of a wedding would pay exact minute attention to such a point. The two houses were 5 minutes apart in a car if that. Pre 905pm, or whatever, Auntie May was in the house; Maureen Parkes (nee Flynn) was in the house & Maureen was joined in minding Auntie May (I think) by Anne Flynn (David's wife). After that likely the time line was retrospectively fudged as to who was where and when. But in any event there were 6-8 other people around aside from Maureen & Anne. This is the group that was in Whites pub albeit not for as long as was later claimed.

    The Flynn family from Galway (thanks to Andrea B's research) was originally the Kearney family from Galway. An Offaly farmer called Flynn married one of the Kearney daughter's hence the name changed. Whilst he moved as far as I can follow to Galway they seemed to keep the land for a while until sold in the 1970s.

  • I was corrected earlier in the thread for saying that Kilcoursey was a 23 bedroom mansion; it apparently was/is a 23 room mansion. Houses of that size are not something I have experience of. In that light can only think of so many rooms in a house that would not be a bedroom- lets say for now unless someone knows better that this was a 12-14 bedroom house ? Richard and Therese could move Auntie May in whereas if they were in a 1200 square feet 3 bedroom semi-detached that wasn't going to happen. They could offer the priest who Mrs Flynn bought horses with a room.

    The producer of the recent documentary said they could find not the slightest piece of evidence that there was a sexual relationship between Fr Molloy and Therese. There was also a formality to the financial relationship- solicitors were told of the partnership. Bank accounts were in joint names. If Molloy was under Therese's spell and there was a desire not to bother with the formalities would make more sense if everything was in her name.

  • This article regarding the Funeral of Richard Molloy makes the Flynns sound like the Waltons. The Flynn children obviously still held their father in high regard which is odd isnt it considering his ( supposed ) actions ruined the family.

  • Go back to's comment-

    '  amazing they bought the 68 acres back then for £13000 and sold 26 acres for £21000'

    They still owned £34,000 in land. Fr. Molloy owned £17,000 of that. He may not have kept daily records of price movements in the value of the horses but lets say he thought the £70,000 worth of horses were worth £60,000- £30,000 of that was his. He would not have written off the £12,000- I am sure he expected to get it back- he would have been annoyed they were playing games over it. So there was easily £60,000 worth of assets. I leave out his own personal accounts, the joint accounts and the shares they owned together as I don't know any values for those. That's still a lot of money- we were earlier told that the £12,000 deposit was the equivalent of a 'good' salary which today would be €50,000. So there was easily €250,000 in today's money which Molloy had if not more.

    62 might be 'getting on a bit' for some but not all. He of course was 52. As nice a man as he is said to be he spent about half the week away from his parish. I am sure most priests in rural Ireland did not do that in the 1980s. Any thoughts of retirement may have been for a number of reasons. He had been a priest for 25 years or more. He had briefly served abroad in Cyprus. He had spent from 42 to 52 close to where he grew up. In as far as he had maybe had earlier thoughts about becoming a Bishop etc it seemed on his career trajectory that wasn't going to happen.

    It seems he had Fair & Murtagh as his own solicitor and the partnership used Liam Lysaght so no doubt it could have been more formal- but he did not seem a complete fool over the joint finances.

  • Which documentary ? Wasn't in this week's documentary and wasn't in the Today Tonight episode from 1987. He may have been an ecclesiastical Warren Buffett but more realistically I doubt he tripled his money between 1965 and 1985. ( More than 1 bank account with £100,000 in is £200,000- he inherited/ was gifted c£65,000 in 1965).

    Post edited by Spencer101 on

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  • Possibly there was the occasional priest in the 1980s who wasn't ' into anyone'. Maybe he kept his vows. The researchers for the recent documentary could find no evidence to the contrary.

  • I wouldn't say that the lack of paperwork was down to foolishness. Rather that it was down to ensuring there was no trail for the taxman ever to follow. I'd reckon that much of his dealings were not taxed, as was common back then.

  • The equine industry was always encouraged by governments and receives very favourable tax exemptions and reliefs which makes it a profitable business if successful.

  • I'm unsure as to if Fr Molloy would discuss any of his issues on the actual night of the wedding though.

    I have a lot of family up there and they said they believed the son did it because Fr Molloy and Mrs Flynn were lovers. Might possibly explain why both the priest and Mrs Flynn were both struck.

    Personally I've no idea what went on.

    Just goes to show how rotten and corrupt the church/gardai were back then.

  • It is possible - I think Richard Flynn was definitely taking the blame for someone else. It would explain the respect the Flynn children still had for their father after the events and the reported breakdown of the relationship between David and his mother Theresa.

  • True but buying and selling land would have been subject to CGT. Income tax would also have been payable.

  • There was a tax amnesty in Ireland, in I think 1988, but definitely one in 1993. I think when you also recall the issue in National Irish Bank, and no doubt other banks, around 2004/5 - where it was found out that lots of people for 10-20 years past had been going in to the banks, would be known to the banks (as locals) and with a straight face say they lived with their Great-Aunt in Cricklewood, could they have a non-resident a/c - there is a good chance that the Flynn/Molloy partnership was not 100% tax compliant. Richard Flynn obviously got clobbered for tax in 1987.

  • Kilcoursey house was practically fr Molloys office and 2nd home.. it's unusual then that he wasn't looking forward to going back to kilcoursey that weekend and actually saying it to a friend/parishioner in castlecoote...that alone was a red flag.

    Post edited by on

  • Having worked in horses all my life i think Fr Molloys reported windfalls from horses is exagerated like the Flynns perceived wealth

    I think he may have done alright out of them but his money like the Flynns goes back to the American Dollar that his father made and coming up to retirement or resignation he wanted to hang on to that money that he inheritated to last out his salad days

    The whole set up was built on Inheritted money on both sides and it was diminsihing fast with the Flynns and Fr Flynn could see they were dragging him down with them

    There was no high society in this case,The Parkes was the nearest thing to high society in this case but the Lenihans was the marqee name.and i knew the Lenihans going back to old Paddy and you could not get a more down to earth family leaving aside the political side of it

    Doctors,priests and Lawyers will turn up to any event with a big house with house at the end of its address at the time,and if you held some sort of sway with the banks due to old money you got to send your kids to good schools and colleges on a huge overdraft and they got to meet proper old money

    i know also from that time that it was not unusual at all when there was an almighty fu*k up in a family from someone that it was not unusual at all that the first port of call would be the local TD,priest,Doctor.Laywer who would advise you before you would consider going to the Guards,and maybe even one of them would phone a friendy Superintendant who would deal with it,obviously this case was on the high end of what could be done at the initial stages but it was not for want of trying.

    The only proper big money in this case was the Parkes and the caterer Christy Maye,proper buisness people

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  • I think then (if not now) were priests not expected to work until 75 ? Not sure what position was in mid 1980s but in recent past retired priests were provided with an income of about €30,000. The diocese added to the state pension to ensure that retirement income of €30,000. Now what position is if you jack in 20 years early and can't plead very poor health I don't know. Earlier on in thread pointed out that Molloy still had fairly good assets notwithstanding the Flynns' games over the £12,000 deposit.