RTE documentary on killing of Fr Molloy did nobody any favours

Our man Frank on three contrasting TV documentaries, the success of Lip Sync weekend, and how Shane shone in the Dublin County Final…

Winter and the weather it brings makes it a time of the year that very few people like. The short days and long, dark evenings are often a recipe for negative feelings. As it happens, they are also the times best suited for catching up on TV programmes.

Last week I managed to watch three programmes I’d like to mention, all of which happened to be documentaries. The first featured the highly popular entertainers Foster and Allen, and focused on their efforts to integrate their special brand of music with several other different genres. They also teamed up with artists who were very much younger than themselves, including a couple of rappers, a gospel singer, and some other diverse influences. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it.

It must be 50 years or so since I first saw them live. It was in Dowd’s in Glinsk, at a time when they were hardly known by anyone. Since then, they have become huge international stars, and have had massive hits in places as far away as Australia, New Zealand and America. Tony Allen does most of the singing, while Mick Foster plays the accordion, but as well as being very good musically, they are great craic. Foster, in particular, came across as a loveable character who doesn’t take himself too seriously.

Their interaction with the younger artists was very revealing, as despite being such big international stars, they made everyone feel very much at home, and all the youngsters seemed to really enjoy working with them.

The second documentary focused on an accident that occurred on March 24th 1968, when a Vickers Viscount aeroplane (Aer Lingus flight 712) took off from Cork Airport, heading for London – but never made it. Just short of Tusker Rock, almost seven miles off the south-east coast of Wexford, the plane crashed into the sea, resulting in the loss of 61 lives.

Since then, despite all kinds of investigations and enquiries, no one has ever found out why the accident happened. The documentary focused on a number of people who lost family members in the crash, and the long-lasting effects it had on their lives.

I was 17 years of age at the time and I can remember it quite clearly. Even then, there were several theories as to what caused it. One of the more popular ones was that it had been hit by some type of aircraft that had originated from Aberporth in Wales, which at the time was the most advanced missile testing site in Britain. Other theories were that a small red plane had accidentally struck the Aer Lingus flight, crashing some miles away near the Saltee Islands.

However, 54 years later, there is still no definitive answer as to the cause of the crash. The featured families all feel a need for some type of closure, which sadly looks as if it will never come.

The third documentary focused on the killing of Fr Niall Molloy, who was found dead in Kilcoursey House in Clara in July 1985. Normally I love ‘RTE Investigates’ programmes, so when I saw the trailers telling us they had new evidence about the mysterious death, I was really excited to think that the country would finally find out exactly what happened to the beloved Castlecoote curate that night. However, I was very disappointed, because, while quick to insinuate – through totally unsubstantiated claims – that Fr Molloy and Therese Flynn were more than just friends (something that must have upset the Molloy family), there were absolutely no meaningful revelations.

Certainly there were some newly discovered documents which told us Richard Flynn had his doubts about the relationship between his wife and Fr Molloy. However, in my opinion there was nothing substantial here to directly link Flynn to the death of Fr Molloy (Flynn, who is now deceased, was charged in relation to the death of the priest, but was acquitted).

Everyone knows there was something highly suspicious about the whole episode, but having the TV constantly revisit the killing without producing any conclusive evidence as to who the guilty party might me in my opinion does no one any favours.

‘RTE Investigates’ is normally incisive and interesting, but this time it felt little more than a waste of time and left me with a distinctly negative feeling.

‘Lip Sync weekend’ was great fun

Last week I told you of the Lip Sync concerts that were taking place in the school hall in Creggs over the weekend. As I write this, it’s Sunday evening, and the dust has settled on what turned out to be two hugely successful and entertaining nights of fun.

Nine wonderful acts lit up the stage in the school, and – for a couple of hours at least – lit up the lives of all of those who were lucky enough to be there.

Each act brought their ‘A game’ to the table, and although Bobby Jennings and his excellent group of dancing school children won on Friday night, and the rugby lads (Ronan Cahill, Ronan Dowd, Eoghan Coyle and Brian Diffley) as Westlife topped the voting on Saturday night, the truth is that any one of the nine acts could have claimed the winner’s prize. Every one of them were winners, and the general consensus from the night was that the entertainment level was extraordinary and a credit to all involved.

I am reluctant to mention any of the artists individually, but I am making an exception in the case of the oldest performer on the night – Seamus ‘the lips’ Ward from the Commitments’ Band, a well-known musician in his own right, who, as well as performing, had his own group of Ukrainian supporters, who certainly made their presence felt and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the show.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget about all the work that goes into a show like this, but the people who did the amazing costumes, the make-up people and hair stylists, the sound and lighting organisers, the doormen, the tea and coffee sellers, the ticket sellers, the man on the mike (Paul Browne), the wonderful MC Shane Curley, and of course the very knowledgeable judges (three of them, at least! I was the fourth) all played their part in making it a night to remember. Thanks also to all who helped with the excellent props.

Nothing can ever be a success if people don’t support it, so a big thank you to the people of the parish and beyond who came out in such big numbers and ensured that the hall was completely full on both nights. It may be hard to believe, but it’s five years (or so I’m told) since Lip Sync 1 took place, so all I can say is I hope it is nowhere near as long again until we have Lip Sync 3!

Julie’s new CD

Julie Healy has a huge night lined up for Dowd’s of Glinsk on Friday night, the 28th of October, with the launch of her new CD.

I’m told that – remarkably – all the songs have been written by Glinsk’s own James Shevlin! I hear there are thirteen songs in all written by James, which is some achievement.

Julie has an amazing line-up of talent coming on the night, with music by Mick Flavin and a huge number of special guests, including the man with the golden trumpet (Johnny Carroll), PJ Murrihy, Carmel McLoughlin, and several more top quality artists.

Michae Commins of Midwest Radio is the MC, doors open at 7 pm, admission is only €15, and CDs are available at €10. There will be spot prizes and a raffle, and it promises to be a wonderful night of music and craic.

And finally…

After all the controversy about his footballing transfer from Kilkerrin-Clonberne to Kilmacud Crokes, the whole country was wondering whether or not Shane Walsh could deliver in Sunday’s Dublin County Final. To his credit, he sure did deliver; to be the Man of the Match must have been very special for him.

As one who felt he should have got the Man of the Match award after the All-Ireland football final, I am delighted Shane got the recognition he deserved for Sunday’s performance.

Talking of the All-Ireland final, and especially after this week’s Connacht Championship draw, isn’t it time the Galway flags, posters, and good luck messages came down, and are put back into cold storage? Hopefully they can go back up again next year!