Convicted murderer Harry Gleeson will soon be pardoned for shooting dead a mother of seven, despite being hanged in 1940. Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald will recommend to the cabinet that Gleeson receives a pardon following a review of the case.
The Irish state did not execute large numbers of people, but a conviction for murder could earn a date with the hangman’s noose. Gleeson reported finding the body of Mary ‘Moll’ McCarthy near her home in Tipperary in 1940 and was later brought to trial for her murder. McCarthy was a single mother of seven, a fact unusual enough for the time.
There has been a campaign to re-assess the conviction, which was based on flimsy evidence and undermined by Ms McCarthy’s daughter. The decision comes a little late for Gleeson, who was hanged three months after his trial. The question that remains to be answered is ‘Who killed Moll McCarthy?’