‘Time is running out’: call for inquest in case of Mary Boyle

Silent protest at coroner’s office in Stranorlar marks 41 years since six-year-old disappeared

A cousin of missing Co Donegal girl Mary Boyle, who was last seen almost 41 years ago, has called for inquest into her death which he says could help to join the dots in the case and identify her killer.

Protesters gathered at the offices of Donegal County Coroner Dr Denis McCauley on Saturday to demand an inquest be held into the death of the six-year-old, who went missing close to her grandparent's farm in Ballyshannon on March 18th, 1977.

Protesters wore purple ribbons and held purple balloons during the silent demonstration in Stranorlar.

Mary’s twin sister Ann was among the group, which handed in a petition containing more than 10,000 names demanding that an inquest be held.


Joe Craig, Mary's cousin and spokesman for the Justice for Mary Boyle Campaign, said time was running out to find out exactly what happened to her.

“This needs to happen so that justice can be served and that the person behind Mary’s disappearance can be brought to justice,” he said. “Time is running out and we simply cannot allow this to be dragged on any longer.”

‘Move on’

Mr Craig added: “All we are asking for is to allow the events of that day to be pieced together at an inquest so we can move on. Is that too much to ask?”

Mary was last seen leaving her grandparents home at Cashelard at around 3.30pm on March 18th, 1977. She was following her uncle who had gone to a neighbour’s house to return a ladder. Half-way through the journey she told her uncle she was turning back, and was never seen again.

Despite an exhaustive investigation, no trace of Mary has ever been found and her disappearance is one of the State’s longest running missing persons cases.

Eddie Crawford, from Lifford, took part in the protest and said that as a grandfather of 11, he wanted to show his support for the Boyle family.

“Somebody knows what happened to her and we need to continue asking questions so she gets justice,” he said.

Emma Kelly, who travelled from Dublin for the protest, said she had lost her brother John in tragic circumstances and was still seeking answers surrounding his death.

“I wanted to be here today to show my support for the Boyle family and to let them know that Mary will never be forgotten,” she said.

“It’s a tragic case but the silence surrounding Mary’s disappearance and the lack of an investigation is just as tragic. This family needs answers and they are simply not getting them which is a scandal.”