President Michael D. Higgins

President Higgins confirms new investigation into Mám Trasna murders

PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins has called for eight men to receive posthumous pardons 135 years after their conviction for the Mám Trasna murders.

In an interview featured in Murdair Mhám Trasna, a drama-documentary for TG4, which premiered at last night’s Oireachtas festival in Killarney, he confirmed that the government had launched an investigation into the case.

According to a report in The Sunday Times today, the president said the eight accused were denied a fair trial, witnesses were bribed and the men were viewed “as a race apart” by the British legal officials.

In 1882 five members of the Joyce family were brutally murdered in their home in Mám Trasna, a remote area on the Galway-Mayo border.

Eight local men were convicted of the crime and sentenced to hang, based on what later emerged to be perjured evidence given by informers and alleged eyewitnesses, who received £1,250 — equivalent to about €160,000 today.

“The government has appointed an expert to examine the case. I look forward to receiving the expert’s opinion and the government’s advice on the matter,” Mr Higgins said.

“If it were up to me, the formalities aside, I would be happy to accept that the injustice which occurred should be recognised."