From top: A vigil for Mary Boyle in Cashelard, County Donegal on Saturday: Gemma O’Doherty
The documentary, posted in July, has already garned 230,000 views on You Tube.
Last Saturday, a vigil was held for Mary, who went missing in 1977 during a visit to her grandparents’ farm at Cashelard, in Ballyshannon, County Donegal. Her uncle, Gerry Gallagher, was the last person to see her alive. Attempts to question Mr Gallagher were allegedly thwarted by local political interference.
Gemma O’Doherty writes:
There was a large garda presence at the Christmas vigil for Mary Boyle in Cashelard.
Officers guarded the entry to Gerry Gallagher’s farm, where many believe Mary was murdered and her body is dumped.
Two garda squad cars and an unmarked vehicle monitored the event in a pathetic display of political policing and wasted garda resources.
One detective present sneered at recent efforts by retired officers to reveal the truth about the case and made disparaging comments about them.
As I listened to him, I was reminded of the day in 2014 when disgraced Commissioner Callinan labelled whistleblowers ‘disgusting’.
But the citizens who came from far and near were not intimidated by their presence and did not allow it to sully the memorial event for Mary. Candles were lit, carols were sung and prayers were said for her on the lonely boreen where she was driven to her death almost 40 years ago.
Mary’s family were once again notable by their absence, and there was a distinct lack of people from the environment where we believe she was murdered, revealing the fear and control that some in the area still exert over others.
There is a cohort in Ballyshannon who would like to keep the veil of secrecy drawn over this case but they are turning into a minority.
What I noticed on my latest journey to Donegal is how withered and weakened the bullies of Bundoran and Ballyshannon have become: the untouchables untouched by the law; the evil men who thought they could keep a lid on the vile abuse being perpetrated against vulnerable children in the area, right up to the current day. They are now shadows of themselves.
They know the truth is unstoppable and they are frightened about what might be revealed. For the first time in their adult lives, their power is being challenged and they don’t know how to handle that.
Individual gardai who have shielded paedophiles are getting anxious that they too could be individually held to account for abusing their power and perverting the course of justice. When they travel to Cashelard for dubious reasons, they are being monitored and recorded.
They know their commissioner’s days are numbered and that the public is increasingly beginning to take a stand against the corruption that has infested our police force.
It is up to the Irish people to keep the pressure on Mary Boyle’s family and the gardai to return her remains so she can be given a decent burial.
There is no organised justice campaign for Mary per se but a grassroots movement has developed throughout the country and beyond, and that is the way it should be.
If you struggle to know what to do, just the smallest gesture of tying a purple ribbon to your car or wearing one on your collar will help. Hold a Christmas vigil for Mary in your town or village. Put up posters of her in your locality. Do anything you can to remember a child who must not be forgotten.
Time is running out and the gardai know that. The chief suspect and those who shield him are progressing in years, and when they die, the possibility of finding Mary’s remains dies with them.
So please keep the pressure on in whatever way you can, especially in Donegal, in the hope that justice can finally be done for Mary before her 40th anniversary in March 2017.
Previously Mary Boyle on Broadsheet