Man remains in custody over 1977 abduction of Mary Boyle

Gardaí make first arrest in case of Ireland’s longest-missing person

The suspect arrested yesterday in relation to the disappearance of Mary Boyle in 1977 remains in Garda custody this morning.

The man in his 60s was arrested yesterday at about noon when he was taken from a prison outside Dublin and brought to Mullingar Garda station for questioning.

He had never been a suspect before now. However, he became a suspect for Mary's disappearance and presumed murder after his conviction for the crimes that he is serving a prison term for, which were committed in Donegal and were historical.

Investigations since a review of the case that began three years ago also yielded fresh information that underlined his status as the new chief suspect and resulted in his arrest yesterday.


Mary Boyle disappeared on March 18th, 1977, while on a visit to her grandparents at Cashelard, near Ballyshannon in Co Donegal.

A massive investigation and search was conducted at the time and there have been further searches since. She is officially Ireland’s longest-missing person.

The mother of Mary Boyle told The Irish Times yesterday that she had been informed by gardaí in recent weeks that they were preparing to arrest a new chief suspect, the first ever arrest in the case.

“I live with the hope that she is alive,” Ann Boyle said. “After all, not a ribbon or anything else was found belonging to Mary, so she could still be alive.

“If she is dead, then I just want her back to give her a Christian burial. That is all I want in my life now. I pray every day, and that’s the only thing that gets me through it.”

Speaking from her home in Belcruit, Kincasslagh, Mary’s mother said her hopes of a major breakthrough in the case would be shared by her husband Charlie if he were still alive. Mr Boyle drowned in a fishing accident in 2005, aged 62 years.

“Charlie was my rock and he helped me get through everything after Mary went missing,” she said.

“I just hope we can find an end to this now. It’s all that he ever wanted.”

“The gardaí have always been very kind and courteous to me,” Ms Boyle said. “They telephoned me this morning to tell me they were about to arrest him.”