Congratulations to @RAE_Stephen. Journalism goes to the heart of who & what we are as Irish people. Fake news will only be combatted by strengthening & supporting quality journalism.This appt means Ireland is well placed in Europe to contribute to the debate on tackling fake news
From top: Stepehen Rae; Tweet from Minister for Communications Denis Naughton
Stephen Rae was invited by the commission to join the group, which will advise the European Commission on all issues in relation to the spread of false information across traditional and social media, and how to cope with the consequences.
The group’s first meeting will take place in Brussels next Monday.
Commenting on his appointment, Mr Rae said: “We have seen the widespread damage that can be done by the wilful dissemination of false information on social media platforms.
“I look forward to meeting and exchanging views with my colleagues on the Expert Group as we advise the European Commission on dealing with this complex challenge, which has major social and political consequences for citizens.”
Gemma O’Doherty reports that several former pupils of Terenue College have come forward claiming they were sexually and physically abused in the 1960s and 1970s.
Ms O’Doherty writes:
Terenure College is one of a growing number of fee-paying Irish schools who may have to confront decades-old abuse in the coming years, as survivors gain the courage to come forward and seek redress and compensation.
The financial implications for private colleges which find themselves exposed to historic claims could prove catastrophic. Some may face the prospect of having to sell off valuable chunks of their campus or even closure.
But many victims believe the time has come to blow the whistle, regardless of the consequences.
They say their ‘alma maters’ should no longer be allowed to hide from the dark secrets of their past, which have shattered so many lives.
[One said:] “As a survivor of the violence and sexual abuse at Terenure, it saddens me to think that success on the rugby pitch was put ahead of child protection.
“When past pupils admire with pride the trophy cabinet in the college containing the Leinster Schools cups, they should be aware that they were won at the expense of innocent boys whose lives were destroyed by perverts disguised in brown Carmelite habits and grey suits.
“A few bad apples in the barrel yes, but nobody ever cast them out. Why not? The public, who subsidise private schools, have a right to know what happened. We can’t keep brushing abuse scandals under the carpet.“
My investigation into historical child abuse at private boys school #TerenureCollege will be published soon. If you would like to speak to me regarding improprieties of a sexual nature at the school, please contact me via DM or at email@example.com
Barry Cummins, of RTÉ, presented a Prime Time programme about the disappearance of six-year-old twin Mary Boyle near Ballyshannon, Co Donegal in March, 1977.
You may also recall how, last July, Gemma O’Doherty posted her documentary on Mary’s disappearance, called Mary Boyle: The Untold Story, on YouTube.
Watchers of both Ms O’Doherty’s documentary and Mr Cummins’ Prime Time show will note that there were a few similarities between the shows, not least the drone footage.
But there were also some glaring differences – most notably in the quotes of retired detective inspector Aidan Murray.
During the Prime Time programme, Mr Murray told Mr Cummins that he believes he knows the identity of the person behind Mary’s disappearance.
Barry Cummins (voiceover): “So, who abducted Mary Boyle? One of the original investigators tells me that, for the last 40 years, he has suspected a local man to be responsible for Mary’s disappearance.”
Aidan Murray: “A person came in voluntarily into the station to have a chat with us about the child, you know. So, I interviewed that person, in the company of Inspector [PJ] Daly, now deceased. And, in the course of that interview, I took him as a witness first. He began to panic a wee bit and started kind of, would say roaring at me, more or less to say ‘I didn’t do it, I didn’t do it’. I had interviewed a lot of people and have done courses in that, in interviewing serious crime suspects and I know myself in my own heart that by looking at him and the way he looked at me, that he is the person. I’m convinced that he’s the person, even though he didn’t admit it. And I feel that if I had had another hour or so with him, he may have broken.”
Cummins: “I wasn’t there. I wasn’t in that room when you were with this man you believe had the answers.”
Cummins: “But we’re all human, we’re all open to mistakes. In your mind at all, is it possible that that individual is not the man, is not the person who harmed Mary?”
Murray: “No, he is the person. I am convinced of that myself.”
Further to this…
Retired Sgt Martin Collins; retired Det Ins Aidan Murray on Ms O’Doherty’s documentary
In Ms O’Doherty’s documentary, Mr Murray also recalled interviewing a man – in the presence of the late Inspector Daly.
Before Mr Murray’s account of this interview was shown in Ms O’Doherty’s documentary, retired Sgt Martin Collins explained the following:
“A person, who would have been known to Mary, made it his business to contact me at Ballyshannon Garda Station. This would be, some, maybe a week after Mary going missing. And he requested to meet me. But at the particular time, I was engaged in meeting my colleagues from Bundoran. From Ballyshannon to Bundoran, it’s only four miles so I told this person that I was meeting my colleagues, from Bundoran, I’d be only a few minutes and to remain at the station until I came back.”
“In the meantime, I went to Bundoran and, halfway to Bundoran, which only took about three minutes, this person drove his own car behind our patrol car and pulled in behind us at Fener, halfway between Ballyshannon and Bundoran. I got out of, when I finished with the Bundoran lads, I got out of the patrol car, and sat in to his motor car and when I did, he began to cry, sobbing, and told me what a terrible thing what happened – that he knew those little girls, the twins and that he was very fond of them, loved them and that he had children of the same age, and how he felt about Mary’s disappearance.”
“So, in the course of the conversation, I put three scenarios to him: one, that she’s still missing out there; second, that she was kidnapped; and the third one, bluntly, murder. And I said which of those three scenarios would you think is responsible for Mary’s disappearance and he said, the last one. So I said, ‘you mean murder?’. And he said, ‘yes’.”
In Ms O’Doherty’s documentary, she explained that the person who made these allegations to Mr Collins was a relation of the suspect.
And in the days after Mary’s disappearance, AidanMurray spoke to this suspect.
Mr Murray told Ms O’Doherty:
“Inspector [PJ] Daly, who’s recently deceased, and myself interviewed that man. We interviewed him, at one stage I was interviewing him, I told him, ‘just tell us where the child is’. At that stage then he started crying and roaring and accusing me that I was accusing him of the murder of the child.”
“I got a little nudge from the inspector at the time, under the table, to ease off a wee bit. So I was reluctant a wee bit but I did ease off because it was more or less an instruction. And I went out and got him a glass of water, under the instructions of the inspector.
“When I came back then, that particular man had gone back to himself again. I felt that it, that in my own heart, that he had a guilty look. I could see it in his eyes and it was just that, a wee push, that he would have admitted.”
“When you do interview a person that, especially a very strong suspect, after a number of years, you can see things in their eyes if they’re really telling you the truth, or if they look away from you. And I knew from, from previous experience that if you have a man at a certain level, you don’t pull back. You just push that wee bit extra and I felt that I had him. A defence, that he was defending himself, that what he’d done was wrong but I thought that if I’d had has someone else with me, that maybe that extra wee bit of pressure, we would have, we wouldn’t be here today now talking.”
Readers should note that retired Sgt Collins did not feature in last night’s Prime Time show.
However, Mr Cummins did refer to retired Sgt Collins when Mr Cummins highlighted the allegation that there was political interference in the case.
This is an allegation that was raised in the Dáil in October 2015, and featured in Ms O’Doherty documentary last July with quotes from Sgt Collins making the same claim.
However, after Ms O’Doherty’s documentary, the Donegal Post ran a story reporting:
There was and there remains a cover up into the disappearance of young Mary Boyle in 1977, but there was neither political nor state interference, a lead investigator at the time has clarified this week.
He believed that the ‘cover up’ relates to an individual or individual, who may have vital information in helping resolve the near 40-year-old mystery
It follows on from a YouTube documentary which was released on social media about the case and featured an interview with the retired Sergeant.
The documentary alleged that political interference may have resulted in which way the initial investigation was carried out.
In an exclusive interview with the Donegal Post, retired Sergeant Martin Collins said that any suggestion that senior members of the force that he worked with in Ballyshannon, had influenced the direction of the original missing persons investigation were totally erroneous.
He was equally 100% adamant that NO political interference came about, despite an alleged call by a politician to Ballyshannon garda station.
In last night’s Prime Time show, Mr Cummins said:
“The allegation is that a phone call was made by a politician to Ballyshannon Garda Station in 1977, asking that Gardai back off investigating a local man. Last summer, former Sgt Martin Collins gave this interview to the Donegal Post [above] dismissing the suggestion he or his colleagues were influenced by any outside interference and Aidan Murray signed an affidavit to the same effect.”
Following from this, Mr Murray told Mr Cummins:
“There was no political interference whatsoever. I did what I had to do. I was never stopped from doing it through any political interference. No. There was no interference with me. Never was there.”
In Ms O’Doherty’s documentary.
She explained that some officers allege that, in the days after Mary’s disappearance, a politician contacted Ballyshannon Garda Station and ordered that the chief suspect not be arrested.
Ms O’Doherty also explained that this politician knew the suspect and that he, the politician, also had a close relationship with the late Superintendent Dom Murray who was in charge of the case.
Mr Collins told Ms O’Doherty:
“A phone call was made to Ballyshannon station, it was a politician. The gist of the conversation was that none of a particular family should be made a suspect for Mary’s disappearance.”
In relation to the same phone call, Mr Murray told Ms O’Doherty:
“Well I know that, as a result of that phonecall, that certain people weren’t allowed to be interviewed and that it was all hands-off them, and it was ‘look somewhere else’, as the man says. As it was said, the sting of the whole investigation went out of that whole investigation, you know?”
From top: European Centre for Press and Media Freedom conference; Gemma O’Doherty; Catherine Murphy.
The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) will host the second Newsocracy conference, entitled ‘Media Ownership Concentration in Ireland and Europe’ at At the Irish Writers’ Centre on Parnell Square, Dublin 1.
Catherine Murphy TD co-leader of the Social Democrats will speak alongside investigative journalist Gemma O’Doherty, Lynn Boylan MEP and others.
The event is open to the public and free but those interested in attending are asked to register here or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Ms Murphy said she will return to Leinster House following her address to initiate a Private Members Bill to “protect the diversity of ownership and address the issue of control of media in Ireland”.
Ms Murphy’s bill aims to ensure that the 20 per cent public interest test that applies to any media mergers “could be applied retrospectively to any individual or undertaking holding more than 20 per cent of the shares in a media business.
It will be debated during the Social Democrats’ private members’ time on Wednesday, February 8.
Ms Murphy said the Bill will also recognise:
“the huge shift to online and digital news sources and will update the current definition of audience reach to add those sources to the existing viewership and readership definitions, which are taken into account when considering media mergers and plurality of the media.”
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.
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.
A Christmas vigil for Mary Boyle will be held at the gate of the Gallagher farm in Cashelard, Ballyshannon, Co Donegal – where she was last seen.
Mary Boyle was six years old when she went missing on a visit to Cashelard on March 18, 1977.
Meanwhile, Gemma O’Doherty – who wrote and directed the documentary Mary Boyle: The Untold Story – writes:
Some months ago, Margo [O’Donnell] and I travelled to Cashelard to try to speak to Mary Boyle’s uncle Gerry Gallagher, a member of Fianna Fáil and the last person known to have seen the little girl alive.
When she disappeared in March 1977, he claimed that Mary had followed him across remote fields but vanished somewhere along the way.
Margo, Ann Doherty [Mary’s sister] and I believe that Gerry Gallagher holds important information about what happened to his niece.
While Margo and I were in the isolated townland of Cashelard, we came upon a jeep being driven by his wife Eva Gallagher.
Eva lived on the farm where Mary was murdered and was there on the day she went missing. We saw the jeep pull into a local shop. Margo decided to approach Eva and ask her if she was willing to talk about the case and what she thought had happened to her husband’s niece.
However, Eva refused to speak to her and left the car park at high speed, before returning briefly to collect a gentleman she had accidentally left behind.
Margo and I later went to the home of Gerry Gallagher but were refused entry by him and Eva who spoke to us from behind the door and told us to leave.
When I was making my documentary about the case, I rang Gerry Gallagher and asked him if, as the last person known to have seen Mary Boyle, he would be willing to take part in it.
I then asked him if I could film on his land where she went missing and he agreed. One day, when I was filming there, we met Gerry Gallagher. The retired detective Aidan Murray, who appears in my documentary, was sitting next to me in my car when Gallagher approached. Garda Murray asked if we could film on the land and he said we could.
The following day, I went back to the farm alone with the camera crew and Ann Doherty. The cameramen went on ahead to set up their equipment but, as Ann and I approached, we could see them walking back towards us.
They said that Gerry Gallagher had approached them and told them to get the f*** off his land and to tell me to do the same. We left immediately.
Shortly afterwards, we went to the house of a neighbour we know to download our footage. Eva Gallagher arrived at high speed and in a temper. She attempted to corral us into the neighbour’s courtyard with her car.
We were able to leave with just inches to spare.
These are just some of the many disturbing incidents that have happened to me and Margo O’Donnell involving members of Mary Boyle’s family in recent months, as we try to expose the truth about her murder which continues to be covered up to this day.
Below are three clips are from a forthcoming documentary by Gemma O’Doherty about the 1985 death of Fr Niall Molloy in Kilcoursey House in Clare, Co Offaly – the home of Richard and Therese Flynn – and the subsequent cover-up of same.
Fr Molloy died at the house on the day after the wedding of the Flynns’ daughter Maureen to Ralph Parkes.
The first clip is of Gerry North, a neighbour of the Flynns, describing how a witness in the case told him gardai wrote his witness statement.
The second is of another neighbour of the Flynns, Brian Sheridan, who speaks about the close relationship between Fianna Fáil minister Brian Lenihan Snr and the Flynns,
In the third clip, former Garda sergeant Kevin Forde of Clara, Co Offaly, who was the first officer on the scene at the murder of Fr Niall Molloy at a mansion in Clara in 1985, describes his concerns about how the murder case was handled. The case was soon taken over by his Dublin superiors.
“‘There were two guards there to interview me’. He said ‘I was absolutely scared’, he said, going in. ‘Never had been in for an interview before in my life’ which he hadn’t and he said ‘I was scared’. And he said ‘but when I got there, I realised the two guards were more nervous than I was, in case of what I’d say’. And he said, ‘basically what happened was they told me what to say, I repeated it and they wrote it down’.
“He said it was very short and ‘I was never asked any awkward questions or anything like’ just, he said, ‘they kind of said, is this what happened and is this what happened and is this what happened and I said “yes”. And I repeated it he said and they wrote it down and that was it’.
“So I said to him one day, ‘so, 95% of what’s in that, you were told?’. ‘Oh yeah’, he said, ‘95%’. So basically, you’d to kind of add it up, the only thing that was the truth maybe, or that he had put into it, his name and address.”
“I can still see Brian Lenihan swinging in a hammock and a big smile on him and I remember him going in, we were at the bar, and he made some comment, he couldn’t get a pint, so he went in and pulled his own pint which showed how friendly he was with the Flynn’s. He just wasn’t a wedding guest, he was part of the furniture. So, you know, he was always in and out of Flynn’s.”
“I had concerns about the investigation because when I learned that neighbours hadn’t been called to, no enquiries had been made, say house-to-house enquiries and so forth – that, that concerned me.”
Former Garda Sergeant Kevin Forde
The Fr Niall Molloy documentary will be broadcast on YouTube, where Ms O’Doherty’s previous documentary Mary Boyle: The Untold Story (2016) has garnered 200,000 views.
Two gardaí in this car arrived unannounced at the home of journalist Gemma O’Doherty (top) last night
Yesterday evening, a male and female Garda, dressed in plain clothes, arrived unannounced at the home of journalist Gemma O’Doherty.
She had just arrived home, had parked her car and she was entering her house when they approached her.
They said that they were members of An Garda Siochana and mentioned a communication Ms O’Doherty had made with the Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan.
Finding the situation intimidating, Ms O’Doherty immediately asked them to leave.
Ms O’Doherty believes it was in relation to her ongoing investigation into allegations of malpractice in the Raonaid Murray murder investigation.
They refused to leave a number of times despite being asked and it was only when Ms O’Doherty said that they were being recorded and that she would be seeking legal opinion, that they left.
Ms O’Doherty legal team have been informed of the incident and she has also written to the Minister for Justice and a number of other Dail deputies.
Their visit followed a complaint made by Ms O’Doherty to the Data Protection Commissioner some months ago – after the Garda Press Office gave Ms O’Doherty’s private email address to a garda from Dun Laoghaire Garda Station.
In relation to that complaint, after some months, the Data Protection Commissioner eventually found that the guards had no case to answer and that it was acceptable for the Press Office to hand over private details of a reporter to other sections of the gardai.
Ms O’Doherty maintains it was not.
Ms O’Doherty feels the arrival of the two guards last night to her home was an act of harassment and intimidation.