Hundreds attend vigil for missing schoolgirl Mary Boyle

Girl (6) disappeared from her Co Donegal home almost 40 years ago in 1977

More than 500 people have attended a walk in memory of missing Co Donegal schoolgirl Mary Boyle.

The march, organised by local Ballyshannon resident Naomi Brady, saw hundreds walk from the centre of the town out to Ballyshannon Garda station on Saturday.

At the station, balloons were released in memory of the girl, who disappeared almost 40 years ago in March 1977.

Marchers wore purple and white ribbons, the same colour as those worn by Mary when she was last seen walking across lands behind her uncle Gerry’s home near Cashelard.


Purple and white ribbons also hung from the front of many shops and even out of a statue of the late rock singer Rory Gallagher in solidarity with the walkers.

Among those present was missing Mary’s twin sister Ann, who is campaigning to find out what happened to her sister.

Marchers held placards reading various slogans including Justice for Mary Boyle, Child Killer At Large and Arrest Killer Now.

Organiser Ms Brady, a sister of former Lord Mayor of Dublin Cyprian Brady, said she was moved to hold the march after recently seeing a You Tube video entitled 'Mary Boyle - The Untold Story, which was produced by journalist Gemma O'Doherty. It includes two interviews with retired gardaí, who claimed a politician had interfered with the Garda investigation.

“I was sitting on an armchair having watched the documentary and I was absolutely dumbfounded to think that here we are 40 years later and nothing has moved on,” Ms Brady said.

“I felt that we needed to do something for the family and particular for Ann because there is nothing that anyone would know that would be the amount of pain and suffering and hardship that this family have gone through over the last 40 years.”

She added that some of those at the walk yesterday has searched for Mary in the initial hours after she disappeared.

“We’re all here today with he hope and it is only hope, that Mary Boyle can be brought home. This has to come to an end. We need this child to be brought home and laid to rest,” she said.

Having walked through the town, the large crowd stopped outside Ballyshannon Garda station.

Purple and white ballons with the number ‘40’ on them were then released into the sky by local children.

Ms Brady said it was positive that the march had finished at the Garda station, which she stressed was a new station than the one which was present in the town when Mary vanished in 1977.

She said Mary needed to be brought home.

“There may be people at home having a cup of tea who know what really happened to Mary. They need to come forward and let the gardaí know what really happened,” she said.

Singer Margo O’Donnell, who is related to missing Mary’s late father Charlie, said she had decided to stay away from the march, as it was the people’s day.