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.
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.’
“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.
Previously: An Overlooked Suspect