Murder suspect released after questioning over disappearance, killing in Co Laois

Father of eight William Delaney (56) went missing in January 2019 and was murdered

A murder suspect being questioned about the disappearance and killing of married father of eight William Delaney (56) just more than two years ago has been released without charge.

The suspect, who is in his 20s and from the Midlands, was arrested on Wednesday and gardaí said on Friday morning he had been released without charge, with a file on the case being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The man was detained in Portlaoise Garda station under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act and was questioned on suspicion of the murder of Mr Delaney.

His was the third arrest in the case after a man in his 30s and a teenage girl were detained for questioning in June 2019, though they were also released without charge. Despite a two-year investigation into the case, Mr Delaney’s remains have not been found and nobody has been charged in connection with his murder.


Recent weeks have witnessed an intense period in the murder investigation, with lands in Co Laois sealed off and searched last month as part of the Garda investigation team’s efforts to find the dead man’s body.

However, that search yielded nothing and the investigation to locate the remains and to bring the killer to justice has been continuing.


The case was hampered by a delay in reporting the disappearance of Mr Delaney who had just been released from a period in psychiatric treatment the day before he disappeared.

He went missing in Portlaoise in January 2019, but was not reported missing for another six weeks. He had taken time away on his own in the past, meaning his absence did not cause concern initially.

The last confirmed sighting of Mr Delaney, who was originally from Co Tipperary but was living in Portlaoise at the time he disappeared, was in the Co Laois town on January 31st, 2019.

While his case was treated as a missing person’s inquiry for several months, it was subsequently upgraded to a murder probe. Gardaí believe Mr Delaney was killed by a person known to him over a personal matter and a suspect has been identified.

After receiving information that he had been tortured, murdered and then buried in a shallow grave near the ruins of Dunamase Castle outside Portlaoise, gardaí and the Defence Forces searched there in June 2019 but found nothing.

The information that search was based on came from a teenage girl who claimed a man known to her confessed to the murder. That information came to the attention of the missing man’s family who passed it on to the Garda.

The searches carried out in June 2019 for the remains were followed up by further searching in March in the Fieldbrook area of Portlaoise, but those searches also yielded nothing.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times