December 21st, 2014

The Coach, the murdered priest and the stolen Garda file

Crime DeskBy Mick McCaffrey
Traynor tells our reporter he knows nothing about Fr. Molloy case
Traynor tells our reporter he knows nothing about Fr. Molloy case
Traynor talks to murdered reporter Veronica Guerin
Traynor talks to murdered reporter Veronica Guerin
Martin Cahill and family
Martin Cahill and family
Fr. Niall Molloy
Fr. Niall Molloy

Gardai travelled to the UK to try to interview John Traynor in connection with the theft of files relating to the infamous murder of a priest, the Sunday World can reveal.

Traynor has been implicated in a plot whereby he returned a stolen garda file on priest Father Niall Molloy, who was beaten to death after a society wedding in Co. Offaly in 1985.
 
He is accused of returning the file on the condition that gardai dropped criminal charges against him and that the whole case would be covered up.
 
In an exclusive interview from his hideout in Kent, in the south of England, the 65-year-old described how detectives visited him to try to take a statement on the Fr Molloy affair.
 
John ‘the Coach’ Traynor was in prison in the UK from November 2011 until last September serving a sentence over a €4million bonds scam that dated back to 1992.
 
He said: “They called in and announced that they wanted to talk to me,” Traynor revealed to the Sunday World when we confronted him.
 
“It was about the bo****ks on Father Molloy that was appearing in the papers. I can’t understand why it is an issue because it is a non-story, although I wouldn’t believe half the bo****ks that is written in the papers. 
 
“Anyway, I refused to see them. I have nothing to say to the police about Father Molloy, I have nothing to say to the police about Veronica Guerin. I have nothing to say to the police full stop.”
 
Fr Niall Molloy was beaten to death in July 1985 after attending a wedding in the home of his close friends Theresa and Richard Flynn in Clara, Co. Offaly.
 
Former government Minister Brian Lenihan senior was among the guests. 
 
A post mortem found that the 52-year-old Co. Roscommon curate died as a result of numerous blows to the head. 
 
The bride’s father Richard Flynn was charged with manslaughter a year after the incident, but the judge bizarrely ruled that he should be acquitted because the priest may have died of a heart attack.
 
However, a month later the inquest into Fr Molloy’s death dismissed the possibility that the heart attack killed him and ruled that he died as a result of an acute brain haemorrhage consistent with injuries to the head. 
 
It later emerged that representations had been made to the DPP by a judge asking that Flynn not be charged. This explosive revelation only came to light when the file on the case was stolen from the DPP’s office in 1987 by Martin ‘the General’ Cahill.
 
Cahill knew the allegation of a cover-up would be hugely embarrassing to the authorities and handed over the file to Traynor. 
 
Traynor is understood to have used it as leverage with the gardai and is said to have returned it to detectives in exchange for several cases against him being dropped.
 
Meanwhile, the brother of slain journalist Veronica Guerin has said that gardai have serious questions to answer if they do not seek the extradition of Traynor for setting up the notorious murder of the journalist.
 
Two State supergrass witnesses gave evidence in several trials that Traynor tipped off John Gilligan that Veronica would be in Naas court on June 26, 1996, and that Gilligan used this information to plan her execution.
 
However, despite being arrested with Brian Meehan in Amsterdam in 1997, he was not extradited back to Dublin. Meehan was extradited and was subsequently convicted of the murder.
 
Now that Traynor has been found, Jimmy Guerin wants the gardai to make sure Traynor answers for his role in the murder.
 
“Why is he not before the courts here and why have gardai not sought his extradition?” Jimmy demanded this week. “John Traynor had as much a part in Veronica’s murder as all the others. The State accepted the evidence of Charlie Bowden and Paul Warren that Traynor tipped off Gilligan. 
 
“This was not questioned in any of the trials, so if that is the case, why can their evidence not be used to extradite John Traynor and charge him with the murder?”
 
Guerin said that the fact that John Traynor was never extradited is the one unsatisfactory part of an exemplary Garda investigation, but that it leaves questions marks over the integrity of the whole probe.
 
“It is mind-boggling that Traynor has escaped extradition despite the evidence implicating him. We need a statement from the gardai as to why this is the case.”
 
Garda sources say that a file was sent to the DPP, who decided that there was not enough evidence for charges.
 
Speaking last weekend, Traynor denied that he had anything to do with the infamous murder.
 
“It’s a load of bo****ks, I never set Veronica Guerin up to be murdered. I know nothing about her murder, I genuinely liked her."
 
“I did admit years ago that I told John Gilligan that she was due to appear in court on the day she was killed, but I was lying for my own reasons because it suited me to at the time."
 
“I honestly told Gilligan nothing about her.”
 
Jimmy Guerin has dismissed Traynor’s claims as self-serving lies.
 
Traynor told us that he would not come back to Ireland voluntarily, not because of the Veronica case, but because of outstanding tax liabilities.
It can be revealed that the case he is talking about is a €520,000 tax bill he was hit with in 1997. 
 
Sean ‘Fixer’ Fitzgerald, a notorious conman and best pal of Traynor, contacted the Criminal Assets Bureau in 1997 after Traynor had fled to Amsterdam.
 
Fitzgerald told a CAB officer he was acting on Traynor’s instructions and said Traynor wanted to know if there could be some settlement on “the financial issues”.
 
However, Traynor never settled his bill and is facing criminal charges if he ever sets foot in the country again.