Du Plantier parents thank locals
Sophie Toscan du Plantier was murdered 16 years ago near Schull, Co Cork.
The parents of murdered French film producer, Sophie Toscan Du Plantier have paid tribute to the people of West Cork, saying the support that they have received from ordinary Irish people has helped them persevere in their quest for justice for their daughter.
Georges and Marguerite Bouniol said that they would forever be indebted to the people of Goleen, Schull and Bantry and elsewhere for the sympathy that they have shown them ever since the murder of their daughter at her holiday home at Toomore some 16 years ago.
Georges Bouniol accepted an invitation from the parish priest of Goleen, Fr Alan O’Leary to address the congregation at the midday mass at the Star of the Sea Church in the West Cork village and express the family’s gratitude to the people of the area
"We, Sophie’s parents, have come here today to offer our thanks to the people of Goleen, Schull, Bantry and the West Cork area," said Mr Bouniol assisted by family friend Jean Antoine Bloc-Daudet who translated his address into English for massgoers.
"We have been missing Sophie now for 16 years and we thank you all for your messages of sympathy expressed through the few words and smiles that tells us ‘We are with you and support you and we hope that you stand and remain strong'."
“We join our prayers with yours and we ask God to help us to help us find the truth and justice and for justice to be done soon. We renew our trust and faith in justice of Ireland and we keep our hope,” said Mr Bouniol to applause from the congregation.
Afterwards, Ms Bouniol echoed her husband’s comments saying that the support of local people in West Cork had helped them when they felt despondent and had given them “the strength to continue the fight for justice for Sophie”.
Earlier, Mr and Ms Bouniol, along with Mr Bloc-Daudet and his wife, Marie Paule, had paused beside the simple granite Celtic cross, now beginning to green with moss, which marks the spot where their daughter was murdered in the early hours of December 23rd 1996.
A grey mist had enshrouded the rocky barren hills above Toormore and a slanting drizzle came in from the south west across the burnished heathered slopes as the family and their friends gathered for a silent prayer to remember their only daughter.
Ms Bouniol had earlier told The Irish Times that making what has become a near annual pilgrimage to her daughter’s isolated holiday home at Dreenane in Toormore was never easy but was something they felt they owed their daughter.
"What happened to us is like a nightmare without end - These visits to Ireland are always very moving for me - it is difficult to come and see where Sophie was killed but we owe that to Sophie because she loved Ireland and she was so happy at her house in Toormore, we have to pay tribute to her," she said.
Asked if she ever felt perhaps that she has done enough in terms of trying to get justice for her daughter and if she ever wearied and felt like resigning herself to the possibility that her daughter’s killer may never be caught, Ms Bouniol was clear and resolute :
"I do not know what else I could have done to get a better outcome for my daughter but equally I know we will not rest... we can never do enough in our quest for justice for Sophie and we will not give up hope," she said.