State to grant first posthumous pardon to Harry Gleeson

The Government has announced it will pardon a man who was hanged for a murder of a woman in New Inn over 70 years ago.

The Government has announced it will pardon a man who was hanged for a murder of a woman in New Inn over 70 years ago.

Farmer Harry Gleeson was executed on 23 April 1941 for the murder of Moll McCarthy in November 1940.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald reviewed the case following a submission last year from the Irish Innocence Project, based at Griffith College in Dublin.

Gleeson will become the first recipient of a posthumous pardon from the State. Gleeson, a neighbour of Ms McCarthy, who was a single mother of seven, reported the discovery of her body. Five months later he was hanged for her murder.

The Government said it deeply regrets that a man was convicted and executed in circumstances now found to be unsafe.

Kevin Gleeson, grandnephew of Harry Gleeson expressed his relief and thanks at the announcement

“The announcement is wonderful and tremendous news for the Gleeson family, and for relatives and friends of Harry Gleeson, while it is also emotional. It’s a day of happiness and sadness because an innocent life was taken but the good name and character of Harry Gleeson is finally restored and the question of his innocence is no longer an issue.

“It’s also a great day for all the members of the Justice for Harry Gleeson group and the Irish Innocence Project. The Gleeson family would like to convey their thanks to the Irish Innocence Project for their help throughout the last two and a half years, to David Langwallner for overseeing the case, to Tertius Van Eeden for the tremendous amount of work and research done and to Anne Driscoll for bringing it out to the media and the public to the extent that she has. We are delighted,” said Kevin Gleeson.

The Irish Innocence Project at Griffith College, in conjunction with the Justice for Harry Gleeson group welcomed the statement from Minister of Justice, Frances Fitzgerald, TD expressing regret and sympathy that Harry Gleeson was wrongfully hanged in 1941 for the murder of Mary “Moll” McCarthy. The Minister is asking that President Michael D. Higgins exercise his power of pardon to clear Mr. Gleeson’s name.

Mr. Gleeson was charged with the murder of Mary “Moll” McCarthy in 1940 and tried, convicted, sentenced and hanged in 1941. However evidence uncovered through the work of the Irish Innocence Project at Griffith College and the Justice for Harry Gleeson group called into question the conviction.