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Thread: Rape and murder of a little girl - still a mystery

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    Cool Rape and murder of a little girl - still a mystery

    This is my first attempt to open a new thread, so I hope I'm getting it right.

    This article in yesterday's Indo intrigued me and I wonder why no one here seems to have mentioned it.

    It does, however, raise the question of whether religious have more to cover up for than "only" beatings and rape. I believe it is high time for our Government to grow a real pair and just seize every document and record belonging to the church and the religious orders as far back as St. Patrick if needs be. Enough already with the impudent legalistic posturing of the Papal Nuncio and those Medieval mandarins in Rome. If the religious have not committed any crimes, they have nothing to fear.


    Brighid calls for reopening of Connolly murder case - National News, Frontpage - Independent.ie

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    Politics.ie Member The OD's Avatar
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    Its an disturbing case indeed from what I have read and anything but full disclosure from the Gardai and the Church would be tantamount to criminal behaviour.

    I'm not in the least bit familiar with this case but thanks for the heads up on this reknaw.
    Let's all raise a glass of frog milk to the ancient festival of Fargaltide!

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    For anyone who is interested in the background to this case, it was covered comprehensively in a book by Barry Cummins called 'Unsolved'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daito View Post
    For anyone who is interested in the background to this case, it was covered comprehensively in a book by Barry Cummins called 'Unsolved'.
    Background [from the Sligo Weekender 2004]:

    Bernadette’s sister, Anne Guilfoyle, from Ballisodare said that a deceased Passionist priest, Father Columba Kelly from nearby Cloonamahon may hold the answers to her sister’s disappearance. Mrs Guilfoyle said the family had been in denial about some aspects of her sister’s disappearance and murder for years. She said that shortly after Bernadette’s disappearance, county Armagh native Father Kelly moved in with the Connolly family to help her father cope with the huge interest in the case.

    “I suppose we were in denial for a long time. I don’t like to be pointing the finger at anyone but the family have their suspicions. It is something you don’t like talking about and it was something we never talked about in the family for years. Fr. Kelly befriended the family. He would go out and collect the post and then opened the letters as we were getting messages from all over the world, saying that he was worried that not all of them were supportive. He stayed with us for a short while and then was gone before she was found. I remember he was always talking and a very authoritative figure about our house. He didn’t stay with us all that long and he always said he wanted to go to Botswana in Africa”.
    Father Kelly was sent to Botswana shortly before Bernadette’s body was found. The Passionist Provincial Father Martin Coffey said he regretted the pain the case had caused to all concerned.

    “The Connolly family have suffered grievously. Father Columba Kelly’s family were shocked at his sudden death a few years ago and they suffered much pain. At the time of the incident I understand that Columba Kelly was still a student priest so I wonder how he could have stayed with the family. It is sad that this allegation is now coming against him when he is not in a position to defend his good name but I have great sympathy for the Connolly family and hope their pain will come to an end”.
    Anne said that her father, who died in 1999, had raised concerns about the priest who befriended them. She said that she believes this priest knew more than he was letting on.

    Witnesses on the day of Bernadette’s death pointed to a monastery van which Bernadette passed on her way to her death. Anne said she appreciated the hard work the gardai had put into the case but wondered why they were unable to tell her where Bernadette’s clothes were and what type of forensic material was available for investigation.
    Assistant Commissioner Kevin Carty told me that they would do everything to move the case forward. I believe my sister’s killer can be caught if the gardai could answer these questions. A short time before her death Bernadette wrote in her copy book that she wanted to become a teacher. She never got the chance. We want closure and we want answers because my father and mother went to their grave without knowing who murdered their daughter. This has been going on for 34 years. Hopefully somebody’s memory will be jogged by this programme tonight and end all our fears and suspicions.
    I watched with glee, while your kings and queens, fought for ten decades for the gods they made.

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    Unless I'm dreaming, I think this was covered in a tv programme as well a few years back.

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    Politics.ie Member Catalpa's Avatar
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    Well as they say a man is innocent until proven guilty

    - and this man is dead!

    So he seems like an easy target for the Church bashers to point the finger at.

    But I notice the total lack of names attached to these allegations of 'cover ups' from within the Gardai.

    Until such individuals within the Force or retirees from it are prepared to step forward then this really is just idle speculation....

    People (outside of the poor childs family) should put up or shut up on this one.

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    Politics.ie Member Grumpy Jack's Avatar
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    My wife is from rural Co Sligo. Although born after Bernadette Connolly was murdered, she told me that growing up in the 1970s it was widely talked about in the area that a priest from Cloonamahon killed Bernadette and the Church would not allow the Gardai to interview the main suspect or examine the monastery's van which was sign in the area at the time the child vanished.

    She also said she and other children were warned to stay clear of Cloonamahon and its priests - as if they were some sort of bogey men.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catalpa View Post
    Well as they say a man is innocent until proven guilty

    - and this man is dead!

    It's hard to argue with your first premise, and impossible to argue with the second. However, no one has actually accused him of anything. Just asked some questions and gotten no answers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Catalpa View Post
    So he seems like an easy target for the Church bashers to point the finger at.
    Paranoia! The church has made itself an easy target by failing to adapt to a situation where it is no longer a law unto itself and nowadays has to answer to the law like everyone else.

    Quote Originally Posted by Catalpa View Post
    But I notice the total lack of names attached to these allegations of 'cover ups' from within the Gardai.

    Until such individuals within the Force or retirees from it are prepared to step forward then this really is just idle speculation....

    People (outside of the poor childs family) should put up or shut up on this one.

    I do not agree. The poor girl's parents both went to their grave not knowing what beast had murdered their little girl. No one of us could even begin to imagine what grief they had to bear. Her siblings are still alive and deserve to know anything that can be ascertained - one way or another. The order in question could gain a lot of plus points in the public's mind - and maybe some good karma for itself - if it disclosed every scrap of information it has about that priest, why he went to Africa just then, if anything was ever said by anyone. Great, in fact, if they can show that there is nothing at all to blacken his memory.

    All I'm saying is: it's high time for the religious to get the message that we are not answerable to them. They are answerable to us. If saying that is "church bashing", then I think I'll change my handle to "basher",

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    There is a name , inspector Dan Murphy mentioned in this report
    Garda authorities and their affiliation to mother Church played a key role in case - National News, Frontpage - Herald.ie
    but it's not clear if he is still alive.
    One point of information could be easily cleared up. The quotes from Andrew suggests that Fr Columba was a student at the time and less than 4 months after the murder he moved to Botswana. If this was a planned move the order should have records of his appointment to Botswana. These appointments would normally be made well in advance of his travel. If the move was made quickly it obviously deepens the suspicion.
    Brighid McLoughlin has written about this before where she has identified a different suspect:
    Savagery in Sligo - Features, Unsorted - Independent.ie
    It's worth reading.


    " Back in Dublin I called retired Detective John Courtney, who headed the murder investigation 30 years ago.
    "Bob Reynolds?" he said. "I'd never forget him. He was arrested in 1973 for the abduction, rape and attempted murder of a nine-year-old girl in Castlebar.
    "Reynolds lured her into his car and drove her to a remote spot where he tried to smother her after he had raped her. He was convicted and served six years in an Irish prison."
    "Did you know that he was seen by Sandy Perceval on the very lane that Bernadette Connolly was abducted?"
    Courtney confirmed that Reynolds had indeed been investigated by the gardai for this murder and that Reynolds had also been interviewed by the gardai as part of the investigative process.

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    Default Evening Herald and Child Killing Claims

    I posted this on the Harry's Place blog today - as part of a discussion on Islamism - just after I read today's Evening Herald article "Church Cover-Up Murder Reopened." The Islamism discussion is not the best context but their discussion on child abuse allegations finished a day or 2 ago.

    Harry's Place What Is Islamism?
    Islamism is a slippery concept but I define it roughly as a form of political Islam whose adherents are motivated by HATRED of enemies rather than by any desire to convert them. Thus it is closer to secular ideologies like Nazism and Communism than to historical Islam. (Stalin was no more trying to convert capitalists than Hitler was Jews.)

    On a different but related topic I said in a previous post that Ireland went through a Blood Libel hyteria between 1996 and 2004 approx when the Christian Brothers and Sisters of Mercy were accused by murdering children. (Since many of the claims related to times when no child died of any cause I coined the phrase “Murder of the Undead”.) This hysteria has just re-ignited and it is driven by secular liberals not by fundamentalists of any stripe.

    There is an article in the Evening Herald today “Church Cover-Up Murder Re-opened” about the unsolved murder of a 10 year old girl Bernadette Connolly in 1970. The Herald names a priest (naturally deceased) as the alleged murderer and says that a religious brother who is still alive “also had major questions”. The Herald is a scandal sheet and the hysteria is also being driven by a motor mouth radio shock-jock who (unusually) has had several complaints against him upheld by the broadcasting complaints commission.

    However the Herald now states that “Minister [for Justice] Dermot Ahern revealed today that a garda (police) Assistant Commissioner has taken possession of the file and that a Garda liaison officer has been directed to make contact with the family. Senior Justice sources told the Herald that the file was reopened following a campaign by this newspaper and on the Gerry Ryan Show last week.”

    In 2001 the Evening Herald was heavily involved in allegations that a boy Willie Delaney died following an assault by a Christian Brother and was somewhat abashed when the body was exhumed, the cause of death was established and assault was specially ruled out. By an extra-ordinary co-incidence William Delaney died in 1970, the same year that Bernadette Connolly was murdered. The Herald never gives up!

    Ireland is not the only country that is being ripped apart by bogus allegations of child abuse. Almost invariable these originate with secular liberals and feminists e.g. Satanic Ritual Abuse and Recovered Memory. You can imagine what sort of fight these people will put up against Islamic fanatics. They will destroy our society from within and present the Islamists – or related fanatics – with a victory by default.

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