Robert Black and Mary Boyle
Robert Black, who was serving 12 life sentences for the murders of four schoolgirls in the Eighties – three in Britain and one in Northern Ireland – has died in Maghaberry Prison in Co Antrim.
In reports about his death today, several Irish media outlets have linked Black to the unsolved case of Mary Boyle – who was six years old when she vanished on her grandparents’ farm near Ballyshannon, Co Donegal on March 18, 1977.
Journalist Gemma O’Doherty – who has previously reported on Broadsheet that Mary’s twin sister Ann Doherty believes she knows Mary’s killer, a person who is still alive and living in Ireland; and that there was political interference in the case – spoke to Jonathan Healy on Newstalk’s Lunchtime about this reported link.
Ms O’Doherty’s interview comes a month after Ann wrote to and asked the Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’ Sullivan to search particular sites that she believes may contain her sister’s remains. Ann’s requests have gone unanswered to date.
Jonathan Healy: “Have you any idea Gemma, how Robert Black and his name became linked to the disappearance of Mary Boyle?”
Gemma O’Doherty: “I don’t actually and it’s a very sinister, has been very sinister through the years, that his name was linked to the case. And certainly Ann Doherty, Mary’s identical twin is very disturbed, yet again, by these allegations being made by certain quarters that he had anything to do with the murder of her six-year-old sister. It is the case that Ann believes, and more importantly a number of very senior officers who were working on the case at the time, that Mary was murdered by somebody known to her. Mary Boyle did not know Robert Black.”
Healy: “And this crept in over the years because let’s face it, Robert Black was a particularly nasty individual, he was jailed for a number of crimes, and was linked to a number of other disappearances and suspicious deaths in and around the British Isles. Could it just be the case that because he was nasty and because Mary’s case was unsolved people put two and two together and came up with five?”
O’Doherty: “Well they certainly did come up with five but I think we need to bring your listeners back to 1977 when Mary was visiting her grandparents’ extremely remote farm outside Ballyshannon. Just four miles from the border with Fermanagh, this part of the country was one of the most heavily policed at the time, there were at least three permanent Garda checkpoints operating 24/7 because this was the height of the Troubles in northern Ireland and on the northern side, the RUC and the British Army had a number of units there which were operating permanently. The possibility of, I believe this individual drove a van, the possibility of him coming through the border when there was such a heavy police presence, it’s actually laughable if it wasn’t so serious. Really people need to know the landscape that we’re talking about. The nearest wrote was a long distance away and it’s just inconceivable had anything to do with it. There were three cars accounted for on the day, that were in that immediate area and they have been ruled out. The evidence points in a very clear direction and it’s certainly doesn’t, and never did, point in the direction of Robert Black and it is very disturbing.”
Healy: “You have spoken to Ann today, on the back of these reports, how has she reacted to this name being linked with the disappearance of her sister?”
Doherty: “Well, Ann, through the years, you know it’s almost been 40 years and she’s been trying to find her little sister, her identical twin. She has suffered hugely through the years, she has taken on very serious forces in this State and stood up against them and she’s suffered hugely and I would ask, on behalf of my profession, that they think about her today before they make allegations that they cannot possibly support. But it’s not only Ann we should be talking about today, we should be thinking about Mary Boyle who is our youngest missing citizen. I believe, and so does Ann and so does a number of officers, that she was brutally raped before her murder and we also believe that her rapist and murderer is still at large in this country and is a danger to other children and that is what is key about this case.”
Healy: “You have been involved in this campaign for a while, you’ve been working with Ann and Margo O’Donnell who has also made statements to the gardaí, they’ve met with the Taoiseach as well, they’ve tried to progress this, they have had I suppose, in getting through doors, some success, but are they confident today that the authorities are taking a fresh look and a serious look into Mary’s case?”
Doherty: “Well there’s no evidence to suggest that. It’s almost a month since Ann and her lawyers requested that two new sites in the immediate vicinity of Ballyshannon be searched and their requests have been dismissed, they’ve been ignored, they haven’t received any sort of reply. Ann is pushing forward for an inquest, Mary Boyle deserves and inquest and it is hoped that the truth will come out in an inquest because, certainly, she and other officers who are close to the case and who worked on it at the time have no faith in An Garda Síochána in relation to this case.”
Listen back in full here
Previously: Mary Boyle And Political Interference