Scannal – The Barbara Naughton Case

Barbara Naughton On the 17th of April, 2002, an Irish political colossus fell upon his sword. The man in question was Bobby Molloy.

Molloy had been a TD in Galway West for the previous 37 years, during which time he had represented two political parties and served in a variety of government positions. He resigned his position as Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal because of the perception that he had attempted to interfere in a criminal case which was before the courts.

Daddy, Please Don't - Barbara Naughton  The case in question was the serial rape of Barbara Naughton by her father, Patrick Naughton, over a period a nine years.This crime, which occurred in the idyllic Connemara townland of Camus, was of a particularly horrific nature. Patrick Naughton was tried between the 22nd and the 31st of October, 2001, and found guilty. While Naughton was awaiting sentence, an official in Bobby Molloy’s office made a phone call to Judge Philip O’Sullivan enquiring about correspondence from Naughton’s sister. The judge also received a call from the dept. of Justice asking whether he’d take a call at home from Molloy later in the evening. Judge O’Sullivan said he wouldn’t and terminated the phone call.

Mr Justice Philip O'Sullivan

Mr Justice Philip O’Sullivan.

In Court the Judge drew attention to the phone calls and all hell broke loose. Molloy announced his resignation as Minister and announced his decision not to fight the next election. It was an ignominious end to an otherwise respectable political career.
However, as time passed, the level of Mr Molloy’s involvement in the case became clearer. He had written repeated letters to the Minister of Justice asking for updates on unspecified requests from the defendant’s sister in relation to the case. There followed an exchange of fifteen letters between Ministers Molloy and O’Donoghue in which the Minister for Justice had finally to point out that he could have no role in a case which was being tried by the independent judiciary.

Bobby Molloy

Bobby Molloy.

And what of the victim who found herself in the eye of this political storm? What were her feelings when her traumatic story became the catalyst for the downfall of Molloy?

Scannal retells the tragic story of Barbara Naughton and recounts Bobby Molloy’s role in the court case. Was this interference in the judicial system or Irish political clientelism gone mad? We speak to journalist Fintan O’Toole, court reporter Tomas Mac Ruairi who covered the case, solicitor Andrea Martin and western reporter Brian McDonald.
We also hear Barbara Naughton, the victim at the centre of this tragic case, tell her story for the first time on television.

Click here to watch the programme…

Reporter: Margaret Martin

Producer/Director: Seán Ó Méalóid

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