Lifting A Silence In The Suburbs

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silchester

Silchester Crescent, Silchester Park, Glenageary, Co Dublin

Journalist Gemma O’Doherty is researching a number of unsolved Irish murder cases including the killing of Raonaid Murray.

Following a post on an overlooked suspect in the 1999 murder earlier this month, people, including friends of the teenager, contacted Gemma to share their concerns about this person and the first Garda investigation.

Gemma writes:

Some time ago, I was approached by an individual who gave me information about the murder of Raonaid Murray.

When we met, I was immersed in a number of alleged Garda corruption cases, most of them involving bereaved families battling for justice over violent deaths of relatives that they believed had been covered up.

The information I was told was disturbing and would cause public revulsion if it turned out to be true.

When I first started to probe the case, I was instantly struck by what seemed to be a veil of silence shrouding it. A bright teenager was murdered in one of the most affluent parts of Dublin yet nobody seemed to want to talk about it.

Raonaid, the youngest daughter of a school principal, had just completed her Leaving Certificate in the Institute of Education in Dublin when she was killed.

The circumstances of her murder were mystifying. She wasn’t sexually assaulted. She wasn’t robbed. Her killer was almost certainly known to her yet the person is still on the loose.

The Garda investigation had been littered with inexplicable oversights which included the failure to carry out a search of the escape route the perpetrator most likely took.

When I began my initial inquiries some doors were politely closed in my face at the mention of her name. There seemed to be a sense of relief that the killing had been all but forgotten. Some close to the case told me to mind my own business.

I tracked down certain people I was told might hold answers to the many inconsistencies in the case but they clammed up when approached.

For many months now, I have been scrutinising allegations of police malfeasance in the case, and have little doubt that many aspects of the investigation are too bizarre to fall into the category of calamity or error.

I came into contact with others who had deep concerns about Garda behaviour in the case and aspects of the investigation that didn’t add up.

Their concerns centred mainly on one individual they claimed was dismissed as a person of interest early on. They wanted to know why.

Since writing about the suspect, some of Raonaid’s closest friends have come forward with testimonies of their experience with officers in the aftermath of her murder.

They claim information they offered about what might have happened was sometimes ridiculed and dismissed, leaving them disillusioned that there was any real determination to bring the killer to justice.

Some believe they were targeted for ‘petty drug use’ and that ‘disrespect and insensitivity’ were shown towards Raonaid and their huge loss at her death.

One of her closest friends, who spoke in anonymity, called the investigation ‘farcical, unprofessional and insulting to Raonaid’s memory.’

She recalled:

“When the murder happened, we just went into complete shock. But our anguish at losing her was deepened because of the way the guards behaved towards us.”

“They seemed to dismiss things we said, and appeared at times not to be pursuing avenues you would think might be explored.”

“When they talked about us and Raonaid, it seemed they were implying that she was easy with men and that our lifestyle was a sordid, delinquent one, as if that somehow had a bearing on what had happened, regardless of the fact that it wasn’t remotely true to start with.”

“This struck me not only as rude but also a counter-productive way to garner potentially useful information from grieving teenagers. They seemed to also focus in on small-time drug cases they tried to uncover during the investigation which was irrelevant and a deterrent for those who may have wanted to talk to them about the case.”

I have received more information which corroborates these and other claims made by  Raonaid’s friends. These sources confirm allegations that the Garda investigation failed to seek potentially vital evidence from key witnesses about a potential suspect in the murder.

They are concerned at the fact that they have never been interviewed about the person, and that gardaí never approached them for statements, even though they would have been obvious sources of information.

There are claims the person is allegedly being shielded by some people known to them and senior elements within the gardaí.

They say this individual suffers from ‘chronic anger’ and that has had a life littered with violent episodes. Since Raonaid’s death, this person has been involved in a number of unprovoked assaults.

Lawyers along with a victims’ rights group are currently assessing the option of taking an action to the European Court in Strasbourg, arguing that Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights – the right to an effective, prompt and impartial investigation – has been breached.

They believe that Raonaid has been deprived of her constitutional right to justice.

They are also determining whether people who did not act on knowledge about the murder, because they may have been protecting the killer, could face prosecution for perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

Enda Kenny has been made aware of these developments but has has not responded

A series of questions about the case sent to Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan also remain unanswered.

Last week, without my permission, the Garda Press Office gave my contact details to an officer who has been on the case for many years.

I was disturbed after a phone call with him, which was, in my opinion, an attempt to intimidate me from investigating the case further.

This is now the subject of a GSOC complaint, one of several I have had to make in recent years though I hold little faith in it being upheld.

More than a year ago, I went to see Raonaid’s parents Jim and Deirdre Murray but they told me they did not want to discuss the case with me, and to contact the Gardaí.

I will publish more details on this case soon.

Gemma O’Doherty

Previously: An Overlooked Suspect

63 thoughts on “Lifting A Silence In The Suburbs

  1. rory

    Gemma should go to the indo with this. If she emphasised (above all other aspects of the story) the failure of GSOC to uphold her complaints, she’d be guaranteed the front page.

    1. Adama

      I presume you’re being sarcastic? It’s highly unlikely Gemma would WANT to go to the Indo for coffee, let alone publishing a story..

      1. rory

        It was my attempt at a joke. The punchline being that despite the indo’s distaste for Gemma and their love for the Gardai, they would be willing to put the story on the front page, because they loove to find ways to undermine GSOC; ever since that whole bugging affair a while back, the one that led to the resignation of the Garda commissioner, and… oh never mind. It was my attempt at a joke.

        1. Adama

          Apologies Rory-didn’t mean to come across so bluntly. Having a bad day with PhotoShop-Happy Friday to ya :)

  2. Bobby

    She has to be incredibly careful about what information she release so as to not prejudice any prosecution case that’s made.

    1. Bobby

      People can still be prosecuted, which is the aim of Gemma O’Doherty. She’s hardly going to sabotage herself.

      1. Owen C

        Of course they can still be prosecuted. But if the chances of them being prosecuted seem slim to none, there is a far bigger public interest in the information itself being released and the wider system coming under review.

      2. Bobby

        It doesn’t matter if it’s slim to none. It can damage the chance of someone being convicted and that’s a bigger priority that having a trial by media.

      3. Owen C

        This isn’t about having a trial by media. This is about, in Gemma’s own words…

        “information I was told was disturbing and would cause public revulsion if it turned out to be true.”
        “information I was told was disturbing and would cause public revulsion if it turned out to be true.”
        “allegations that the Garda investigation failed to seek potentially vital evidence from key witnesses about a potential suspect in the murder.”
        “I tracked down certain people I was told might hold answers to the many inconsistencies in the case but they clammed up when approached.”
        “allegations of police malfeasance”
        “I came into contact with others who had deep concerns about Garda behaviour”
        “I have received more information which corroborates these and other claims made by Raonaid’s friends.”
        “These sources confirm allegations”
        “There are claims the person is allegedly being shielded”
        “whether people who did not act on knowledge about the murder, because they may have been protecting the killer”
        “a phone call with him, which was, in my opinion, an attempt to intimidate me”

        These are all very serious allegations related to a crime which took place almost 17 years ago. Huge amounts of information could be provided by Gemma which would not imperil a future prosecution. She could name the Garda who phoned her “attempting to intimidate” her. She could detail other cases where she believes there was garda screw ups or cover ups. She could name people who “clammed up when approached”.

        1. Bobby

          She could name the garda she’s accusing of committing a serious crime? Do you seriously not understand why she can’t do that?

      4. LW

        @Owen, to be fair, Gemma seems to know what she’s doing. What good would publishing names at this stage do? It’s obvious she’s not finished with the case

      5. Owen C

        Bobby, if she said “Garda XYZ called me and tried to intimidate me”, how would that predjudice any case? We are given names of people who are alleged to have committed crimes all the time.

      6. Bobby

        Owen, how can you not understand this? If you’re going to accuse a specific person of a crime, you have to have proof. If you don’t, you can get into a lot of trouble,. For example, if you said a specific garda was intimidating you and had no proof, you’d find yourself prosecuted fairly quickly.

        And if you’ve spent years trying to get what you see as justice for victims of crimes, you’d be a moron to destroy those chances of finding justice to throw accusations you can’t prove around.

        Seriously, how are you not getting this? It’s common sense.

      7. Owen C

        Bobby

        first of all, if GO’D said “Garda XYZ called me two weeks ago and said exactly the following…I view that as intimidation”, there is no law being broken, and would simply be her word vs someone elses. She could be accused of slander/libel, but it would be fairly difficult to find against her.

        Secondly, how can not get that GO’D said the following two weeks ago on Broadsheet:

        “New evidence has also emerged about the behaviour of the lead officer in the original investigation, Detective Inspector Eamon O’Reilly.

        His failure to investigate vital evidence in the days after the murder provided the key suspect with immunity from investigation, claims the source, who adds that suspicious activity by other individuals who knew the suspect was ignored.”

        How is that not “accusing someone of doing something wrong without proof”, and far more serious than some basic facts identifying who had spoken to her and who had refused to speak to her? Saying “Garda XYZ called me” is somehow more serious than the above?? Seriously, how do you not get that GO’D’s bizarre telling of this story is the real story here?

    2. ollie

      She doesn’t;t have to name names, but the rest should be ok to state. Instead she revels in the ” I know something you don’t know” childish crap.

      1. Yer Aul Wan's Cooking

        Nonsense. She obviously has to corroborate the information before putting it in writing.

        She also has been the subject of intimidation, so indicating that there may be some sort of cover up is in its own way a form of protection for her.

        1. Bobby

          Who says I’m lapping it up? I’m simply pointing out the stupidity of demanding details when it’s beyond obvious why those details can’t be given.

        2. Cowenwatch

          “If the murder took place in Ballymun would she have the same interest?”

          If it was an UNSOLVED murder, then why not?

          This country is full of dirty little secrets and one very big carpet so nothing would surprise me! GO’D is correct though, it would prejudice the case and bring a lot more crap on her shoulders.

  3. Jake38

    Like many similar cases in Ireland I suspect this is one more of incompetence and stupidity than corruption.

    1. Rob_G

      I would be inclined to agree – Gardaí are people, most of them have families, I am sure they were as horrified as everyone else at the murder. It would want to be an incredibly nefarious, far-reaching conspiracy to make them ignore evidence/suspects in the murder of a teenage girl.

      1. Sadface

        Either way,incompetence or conspiracy.. Heads need to roll if the allegations are true..
        And the way her friends were treated was a disgrace in anyone’s book..

    1. Cowenwatch

      Interesting haulier. One of his trucks was going to be searched by Customs one day coming off a boat. The boys in blue showed up and literally took the truck and drove off with it!

  4. Lorcan Nagle

    Friends of mine knew her quite well and were very upset when she was killed. I recall a few of them complaining about how the gardai treated them at the time.

  5. Murtles

    Based on what she has stated here and previously, my purely hypothetical and speculative conclusion is that if there is Garda resistance on a line from reluctance to investigate right up to full blown cover up, then the suspect is probably either the son/daughter of a (or indeed themselves a) Garda, Politician or Person of Wealth. Considering they’re saying that she probably knew her killer, then should be easy for other investigative journalists to narrow down the list.

    1. CousinJack

      Agree, why would anyone be surprised, the gardai continually act incompetently and nothing is done as long as they kowtow to the the man

  6. Tish Mahorey

    Probably a bunch of your rugger club mates Rotide. The usual closing of ranks when a “fine upstanding member of the community” is caught breaking the law.

  7. Tish Mahorey

    It quite surprising to see the amount of comments critical of Gemma O’Doherty.

    She is investigating police corruption and the covering up of murders by high ranking police and state officials.

    The more people like her who are oppressed, threatened and mocked, the sooner it will be that you find yourself on the wrong side of political opinion and either dead or in jail for something you didn’t do.

    This isn’t the USSR or North Korea just yet but we are heading there.

    1. Cowenwatch

      She also written on Fr Niall Molloy. Can’t remember any new information put forward by her but that still doesn’t mean he wasn’t murdered. It means there is a cover up going on with his case though!

      It’s interesting though, the killer in this case is still out there but the parents didn’t want to talk about it.

    2. rotide

      She might well be investigating police corruption but I’m sorry, I’ll wait to read a scoop from somewhere that has editorial oversight, a legal department and a distinct lack of LeatherJacketGuy exclusives.

      Blogs are just that, Blogs.

      1. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

        Ah rotide…

        …always great at the deflections.

        What is it this time?
        LJG?

        Y’know what?
        -You’re worse than him. He knows he’s a dick.

      2. Anne

        What difference would editorial oversight make?
        Like the editorial oversight she received from her formaer employers..

        Go way ourrouvit

  8. Tish Mahorey

    The Garda Siochana needs to be completely disbanded and replaced by three or four regional forces doing normal police work with no political agenda as is currently the case.

    1. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

      Tish, you just blew my mind.
      I never thought about that before.

      If one of my mates robs a shop in Galway would he have enough time to get to a ferry for England before the paperwork goes through?
      -Just asking?

      Let’s NOT complicate it further.
      Four messes need four solutions. One big mess only needs one, a big one.

  9. kingo

    there is a lot of conjecture in This. Are we really expected to believe that the gardai dont want to catch Raonaid’s killer?

    1. Owen C

      Not just that. Apparently the rest of the media don’t want to catch Raonaid’s killer either. Just GO’D. The rest of the hacks are content to cover the election.

  10. poppy

    I think she was the journalist that exposed the penalty point debacle and the fact Stephen Rae , ( indo) and Mr Callinan had penalty points cancelled. So a thorn to ‘establishment’. She wrote “please help find our missing sons” when two limerick mothers made an appeal on their missing boys and it was a very disturbing read. ( indo).. She got sacked and the indo subsequently issued a grovelling apology and costs to her. The silence and closed door to her reminds me of the murder in northern ireland of robert mc cartney……..sad state of affairs all round.

  11. Lordblessusandsaveus

    Police corruption always comes from the top down. Always.

    You cannot have a corrupt force unless the top brass are also corrupt having come up the ranks themselves.

    The Irish police are in the pockets of the wealthy and the political establishment. Their job is to protect them, not you.

  12. Cynthia Owen

    Same police force that investigated my case (Dalkey House of Horror) one of the officers on the case was known for arresting young boys in the area and harassing them and intimidating them, and making them sign false statements claiming they had committed
    several crimes to “clear” the book. My brother was one of these local kids, he beat and bullied him and made his life a misery.

    Im from the area and know those cops well, as most locals do, corrupt to the core, they couldnt solve my case and they couldnt solve this case either. There was a man who worked on both cases.

    He investigated my father while hanging around with him, how is that fair or just?

    1. Davina Belmont

      Hi Cynthia, hope you’re keeping well. We all have huge admiration for you for coming through your lengthy ordeal. I’d have more respect for your opinion on this case as a result. It does appear there are sinister forces at work in the Gardai in that area.

      Best wishes.

      Dav.

  13. Lucy

    To catch a killer or cover our corrupt states elections … I know what my money is on , ashamed is an understatement. Be interested in following Gemma ‘s investigation.

  14. schweddy

    From what I gather G O’D has written two blog posts about this, and is in the middle of researching the case. Who knows how long it will take to build a case, but leveling accusations at the Gardai on a public forum is not going to help. Broadsheet are letting Gemma use this platform to keep the case in the public eye. Maybe it will jog the memory of some, and they will come forward with some crucial information. For me, reading a post like this reminds me that our police force can be very selective when it comes to protecting its citizens.

    But… the Click-bait generation want answers now. Don’t bother investigating it properly shure, just tell us who ya think it might be!

    According to Owen C;
    “Of course they can still be prosecuted. But if the chances of them being prosecuted seem slim to none, there is a far bigger public interest in the information itself being released and the wider system coming under review.”

    What would happen if G O’D released a whole lot of unsubstantiated information to the public. How would that go for her?
    Is there a far bigger public interest? Who else is investigating the case? She is being assisted by friends and acquaintances of Raonaid.
    And who exactly is going to review the system? GSOC? The media? Those we vote for next week? Ha!

    1. Fergus the magic postman

      A comment by somebody who knew Raonaid was deleted within 2 minutes of it appearing. It made allegations of Garda misconduct, but didn’t name names. By the time I typed my reply it was gone. My orphaned reply was later deleted.
      I then asked why & referred to the original comment, & that too was deleted, with another bunch I think.
      :/

      1. Peter Dempsey

        I saw your orphaned reply and your question. There’s no way that these deletions are “app-related”.

    2. rotide

      I dont use the app because it’s awful and there’s a lot more comments missing than one tree with the comment you mention.

    3. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

      Is there a reason that all the comments were deleted?

      I’ll bet that there is.
      BS run a tight ship, even at the weekend when I thought things would become a bit lax.

      They’ve rescued me from some terrible, potential embarrassments.
      But this is more serious.
      So ssssshhhhh…

Comments are closed.