The Government has agreed to advise President Michael D Higgins to grant a posthumous pardon to a man who was wrongfully convicted and hanged in relation to the infamous Mám Trasna murders in 1882.

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan issued a statement saying the Government advises the President to grant the posthumous pardon to Myles Joyce, or Maolra Seoighe, who was convicted in relation to murders in Mám Trasna in 1882.

This is only the second time that a posthumous Presidential pardon will be awarded.

The first was awarded by President Higgins to Harry Gleeson, on the advice of former tánaiste and minister for justice, Frances Fitzgerald, in December 2015.

The Tipperary man was wrongly hanged in 1941 for the murder of New Inn woman Mary 'Moll' McCarthy.

Since 1937 only four Presidential Pardons have been awarded.

This is the first time that a recommendation to award a Presidential Pardon relates to a case prior to the foundation of the State.

Minister Flanagan said: "The granting of a Presidential pardon is a rare occurrence and a very high bar must be reached for consideration to be given by Government to making a recommendation to the President.

"This case is very well-known, particularly in the west of Ireland, and it is widely regarded as a clear cut case of wrongful conviction and an historic injustice. In reaching a decision on this matter, I have carefully considered the Attorney General's legal advice and the expert report commissioned by the former Taoiseach [Enda Kenny]. 

"Myles Joyce is one individual but in coming to a decision on this matter, I was acutely conscious of the symbolism of this pardon and its importance for that reason." 

Mr Flanagan's statement notes that President Higgins has taken a deep personal interest in this case and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has conveyed the Government's decision to the President.

In August 1882, Joyce was one of ten men from the local area who was arrested and charged with the murders of five members of the same family in Mám Trasna, on the Galway/Mayo border.

Joyce was one of three men hanged for the crimes.

Shortly before their executions two of the men admitted separately that they themselves were guilty but that Joyce was innocent.

This was deemed insufficient to postpone or revoke the execution and in December 1882, Joyce was hanged along with two others for the murders.

Since then, questions have arisen regarding the safety of his conviction.

There have been serious doubts surrounding the reliability of much of the evidence used to convict Joyce.

Following legal advice from the Attorney General, Mr Kenny commissioned an expert review of the case from Dr Niamh Howlin of the Sutherland School of Law, UCD.

Dr Howlin's examination concluded that a number of factors, including witness statements and the processes and procedures around the trial, led her to form the opinion that Joyce's conviction was unsafe.

Dr Howlin's report states: "There are two understandings of the term 'wrongful conviction'. The first, which may be termed a lay interpretation, is the conviction of a factually innocent person.

"The legal interpretation focuses more on the procedures and processes which were used to secure a conviction - in other words, whether the investigation and prosecution of the alleged offence conformed to the legal norms such as the rules of evidence. 

"In the case of Myles Joyce, it is possible to point to both the legal and lay interpretations and conclude that he was wrongfully convicted. [The] trial, conviction and execution of Myles Joyce were unfair by the standards of criminal justice at the time."

The case has been highlighted in a TG4 film, Murdair Mhám Trasna (The Mám Trasna murders), which is to be broadcast Wednesday 4 April at 9.30pm.