Mountjoy Prison To Be Dug Up To Find Remains Of Prisoners Executed As Far Back As 1870

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Floor Plan (Image: Public Domain)

Mountjoy Prison is set to be dug up by a team of forensic technicians, after a Limerick company has been hired to help find the remains of prisoners executed in the jail as far back as 1870.

Finding the remains of Henry Gleeson, also called Harry Gleeson is a key priority. Mr Gleeson was hanged on April 23rd 1941 after his conviction of the murder of Mary McCarty near New Inn in November 1940.

In 2015, the President granted a posthumous pardon to Mr Gleeson and fully exonerated him from the murder conviction.

Moll McCarthy was a mother of seven children and was found shot dead in a field on Mr Gleeson’s uncle’s farm. Harry Gleeson had maintained his innocence throughout the trial.

ARC Forensics Ltd from Limerick are to conduct the work in line with all necessary protocols as the prison is a working prison.

Test excavations conducted to date at Mountjoy Prison have identified a location where 29 individuals may be buried – these people were executed between 1923 and 1954.

Michael Manning, the last person to be executed by the Irish State, was hanged in Mountjoy on April 20, 1954.

The Department of Justice and Irish Prison Service said the purpose of the planned excavations, set to last around 6 months, is to locate the remains of Mr Gleeson and return them to his family for reburial and to exhume any other human remains discovered on-site for reburial “at a more appropriate location”.

“There are no records to indicate the precise burial spot for Mr Gleeson or indeed any of the other people executed.

It is understood that Mr Gleeson’s surviving family members  wish  to bury his remains with his parents and some of his siblings in the old graveyard in Holycross.