President Michael D Higgins signs first posthumous pardon in Irish history

President Michael D Higgins
President Michael D Higgins

President Michael D Higgins has signed the first posthumous pardon in Irish history for a man who was wrongly executed for murder.

Harry Gleeson was executed in 1941 after being convicted of the murder of Mary McCarthy, but recent analysis of evidence has proved that Mr Gleeson had a valid alibi for the murder.

The pardon was granted in April and signed by President Higgins on Saturday.

The pardon states: “Now I, Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland, on the advice of the Government, pardon the said Harry Gleeson in respect of the said conviction, and wholly remit the sentence imposed as if he had not been so charged or convicted.”

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said the effect of the posthumous pardon was to completely clear Mr Gleeson’s name and that she hoped that it would serve as a tribute to his memory.

She expressed her sympathy and that of the Government to Mr Gleeson’s family and announced she would hold a commemorative event for family members early in the New Year.

Ms Fitzgerald said she would speak in more detail at that event about the pardon and the grounds for the Government’s decision.

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