YouTube documentary on Mary Boyle case returns to air after temporary removal

Gemma O’Doherty’s video about missing girl teturns to air after temporary removal

A YouTube documentary about the case of Mary Boyle, the six-year old girl who disappeared in Co Donegal nearly 40 years ago, was temporarily removed from the channel because of a threatened defamation case.

The video, which had been viewed 79,339 times since it was uploaded last week, was removed yesterday. A message on it stated: “The content is not available in this country domain due to a defamation complaint.” However, it was put back up for viewing within hours after it was reviewed by Google's complaints section. It has now been viewed nearly 120,000 times on one account on Youtube alone.

The message did not say who made the allegation of defamation. On Wednesday the documentary was accessible in full on the site. The comments are no longer displaying.

The documentary, written and directed by journalist Gemma O’Doherty, gives an updated account of the case.


Mary Boyle vanished from her grandparents' farm at Cashelard, outside Ballyshannon, in March 1977.

The documentary includes allegations that a politician requested that the chief suspect not be arrested. The text accompanying the video claims the chief suspect still lives in Donegal.

Reacting to the news of the video’s removal, country singer Margo, who is a cousin of the missing girl’s late father Charles, said she was disappointed.

The video had created a new spark in the investigation into what had happened to Mary, she said.


A march in memory of Mary Boyle is due to take place in Ballyshannon on Saturday. The organiser, Naomi Brady, said the video inspired her to stage it.

“As a twin and a mother of twins, I was touched by the programme and how Mary’s twin sister Ann and her family must have suffered down through the years,” she said.

The march will leave the Abbey Centre before walking to the local Garda station.

Meanwhile, a retired Garda member who has made allegations of political interference in the investigation into the girl’s disappearance has said he would consider any request to co-operate with a fresh inquiry.

The Garda Síochana has confirmed the Serious Crime Review Team, often referred to as the cold case unit, has been asked to examine the case.


However, former Garda sergeant Aidan Murray, who now runs a taxi company in Ballyshannon, said he would need to consider whether those gardaí carrying out the review were from the Donegal Garda division or not.

Last year, Mary Boyle's twin, Ann Doherty, told gardaí she had been informed by retired gardaí that a politician had called Ballyshannon Garda station and ordered a halt into the investigation into the child's disappearance shortly after she went missing.

Mary Boyle was last seen playing outside her grandparents’ home.

Her sister believes she was sexually abused and was killed to cover up the abuse.

Last year’s statement by Ms Doherty, given to gardaí in Pearse Street station in Dublin in October, represented the first time she had made formal allegations of political interference in the case.

However, suggestions of political interference have been a feature of the case from the outset.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times