Mary Boyle, who disappeared from her grandparents’ farm in Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal on March 18, 1977, and who remains Ireland’s longest missing child case
Last week, the twin sister of Mary Boyle, Ann Doherty made a statement to Gardai outlining how a former senior garda told her there had been political interference during the investigation into Mary’s disappearance.
It now transpires the authorities were notified of this officer’s claims back In 2012.
Gemma O’Doherty writes:
The former officer has told Broadsheet that he was approached by somebody known to Mary in the days after the murder.
This individual told him he believed the six-year-old was murdered by somebody she knew and that she may have been the victim of a sexual assault. The person was very distressed as he spoke to the officer. He said other people known to Mary held the same opinion.
The individual he identified as the suspect has never been arrested.
It has also emerged that in 2012 the officer gave Gardaí a 28-page account of what he believed happened to Mary Boyle. He repeated the fact that he had been told the identity of the killer by people known to Mary.
He also said that he was aware of a phone call by a politician to Ballyshannon Station requesting that certain individuals not be considered suspects. However no further action was taken by the Gardai following the officer’s statement.
His concerns were revealed in Broadsheet almost two weeks ago but he has not yet been contacted by An Garda Siochana.
Today, Ann Doherty, Mary’s identical twin, renewed her plea to Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan to act on information she and others have given to the Gardaí over many years, and most recently at Dublin’s Pearse St Garda Station on October 1.
During a six-hour interview with officers, she identified the person she believed to be the killer, information she has given to the Gardaí in the past which has not been acted upon. She was accompanied by singer Margo O’Donnell who also named an individual she believes is responsible for Mary’s murder.
The women also gave copies of their statements to Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan.
Speaking to Broadsheet, Ann Doherty said:
“Mary was a feisty little girl who would have blown the whistle if somebody had done something to her. She wouldn’t be walked over. She wouldn’t let anyone away with anything. I believe she held a terrible secret and was not willing to keep it. That secret I believe was that she had been sexually assaulted.
“It is my opinion that the Gardai have known who murdered my sister since 1977. I have been told by an ex-officer that a politician contacted Ballyshannon Station early on in the investigation and said that certain people were not to be considered suspects. There is no doubt in my mind that this hindered the investigation hugely.
“I am holding the Gardai fully responsible for their failure to find my sister and bring her killer to justice. As a result of their actions, a child killer has been at large in Ireland for almost four decades. And even now, it seems they are unwilling to act and do the right thing. This is a Garda cover-up of monumental proportions.”
During leaders’ questions last Tuesday, Sinn Féin Deputy Mary Lou McDonald challenged Enda Kenny about the case. He admitted he had been given information about it some years ago, which he said he passed onto the Guards. He did not follow it up however.
Margo O’Donnell rang Mr Kenny on his mobile telephone after he became Taoiseach in 2011 to inform him of her concerns about Garda wrongdoing and to ask for his help to find the missing child. She never heard from him again.
When asked by Deputy McDonald if he was willing to meet Ms Doherty, the Taoiseach said he was. However, a request sent by Ms Doherty on Wednesday, October 7, to set up this meeting has not yet been acknowledged.
Ms Doherty’s legal team, at Kevin Winters Law Firm Belfast, is considering an action against the State for its failure to have an effective investigation in the murder, a right enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights.
Her solicitor Darragh Mackin has also applied to the Donegal coroner Denis McCauley to hold an inquest without further delay.
Previously: Mary Boyle And ‘Political Interference’