Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has announced that a senior counsel is to examine a cold case file on the death of Fr Niall Molloy in 1985.

The Co Roscommon priest died in suspicious circumstances at a house near Clara in Co Offaly in July 1985.

Fr Molloy's family welcomed the announcement this evening and his nephew Bill Maher said he was very, very happy with the news.

Mr Maher said media reports elsewhere in the last ten days had suggested there would be no further inquiry into the matter.

He said the family was pleased to hear that an independent senior counsel will carry out a further examination of the circumstances surrounding the death of his uncle.

Mr Maher said the family would welcome the opportunity to discuss this new inquiry with Mr Shatter.

The new inquiry comes after a review of the original investigation and the case files by the Garda Serious Crime Review Team.

It reported to the Director of Public Prosecutions earlier this year, who directed that there should be no further prosecutions.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan also submitted a report on the matter to Mr Shatter

Mr Shatter said this evening that he wanted to put as much information as is "possible and appropriate" into the public domain.

He said he was asking for the new inquiry in the interest of transparency and not because he was unhappy with the work of the Garda Serious Crime Review Team.