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Remains of Harry Gleeson identified in Mountjoy Prison – 83 years after he was framed and hanged for murder of Moll McCarthy



Remains of Harry Gleeson identified in Mountjoy Prison – 83 years after he was framed and hanged for murder of Moll McCarthy

Harry Gleeson, a farm manager from Tipperary, was framed for the murder of Moll McCarthy in 1940, despite a jury’s strong recommendation for mercy.

Mr Gleeson’s family have been campaigning for the return of his remains after he was pardoned by President Michael D Higgins in 2015 – the first pardon to be awarded posthumously to someone hanged for murder.

This weekend the Department of Justice informed Mr Gleeson’s grandnephew, Kevin Gleeson, that his remains had been positively identified in a burial area within the prison, it is understood.

Arrangements for a long delayed homecoming and family funeral will now be finalised.

Today’s News in 90 Seconds – Saturday June 22

The family has long been hoping to see Mr Gleeson’s remains returned for a reburial in his home place of Holy Cross, Co Tipperary.

Harry Gleeson discovered Ms Moll’s body in November 1940 when doing rounds on his uncle’s farm in New Inn, Tipperary, and reported the find to gardaí.

Mary McCarthy, known as Moll McCarthy, a mother of seven who was the subject of local scorn as she used sex work to provide for her children.

Locals called on a parish priest to condemn her and were unsuccessful in seeking a court order to have her children taken away for neglect.

She was shot after meeting four men at a local farmhouse. Among them were IRA veteran Jack ‘The Boss’ Nagle, his sidekick Thomas Hennessy, Patrick Byrne – who fathered two of Ms McCarthy’s children, Mr Byrne’s brother-in-law Patrick ‘Pak’ Gorman

Barrister and historian Marcus Bourke considered the case in his 1993 book ‘Murder at Marlhill’. He had planned to name Ms McCarthy’s murderers in the book but yielded to local pressure and removed them.

A note Mr Bourke signed identifying Patrick ‘Pak’ Gorman as the man who fired the fatal shot lay unnoticed in the trial file held in the National Archives until it was discovered in 2012.

Garda perjury and a hostile judge led to Mr Gleeson being convicted. He was hanged on April 23, 1941, after the government had rejected the 7,000-signature petition pleading that Harry Gleeson be saved from the gallows.

On April 1, 2015, then Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald announced an official pardon for Harry Gleeson.

Kieran Fagan is the author of the book, The Framing of Harry Gleeson

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