A garda review of the murder of the wife of an Irish National Liberation Army leader, Mary McGlinchey, was abandoned because the investigation file could not be found, her family have learned.
ary McGlinchey, who was married to former INLA chief Dominic McGlinchey, was shot nine times while bathing her two children in 1987.
The children, Dominic Óg and Declan, who were aged nine and 10, witnessed the murder of their mother in the upstairs bathroom of their home in Dundalk, Co Louth.
Dominic McGlinchey was shot dead in a telephone box in 1994 in front of Dominic Og, who was then 16. The murders of both Dominic and Mary McGlinchey remain unsolved.
The couple were key figures in the INLA during the Troubles. McGlinchey, known as ‘Mad Dog’, admitted 30 murders and 200 attacks. He was in prison when his wife was shot dead.
Gardaí undertook a review of both murders after meeting with Dominic Og and Declan McGlinchey and other family members in 2012. The family have since found as a result of inquiries made by their solicitor that a review of their mother’s case did not proceed at that time because her file was “missing”.
Ciaran Mulholland, the family solicitor, said that given the lack of communication from An Garda Síochána, he had no alternative but to make inquiries on behalf of his client.
“I was shocked to learn that the garda investigation file into the murder of my client’s mother had vanished and [this was] flagged with Garda HQ nearly 10 years ago, yet nothing has ever been communicated to the McGlinchey or McNeill families,” he said.
“This is nothing short of a disgrace, but also the continuing failures of the commissioner and his colleagues to engage with our office on this matter is far from satisfactory.”
Rumours of the “missing” Mary McGlinchey file have circulated for years. In response to questions from this newspaper in 2021, a garda statement said: “The investigation file into the murder of Mary McGlinchey is retained at Dundalk garda station.”
However the retired detective inspector, Pat Marry, has confirmed to the Sunday Independent that he was the officer tasked with reviewing both files to bring them up to a contemporary investigative standard.
When contacted this weekend, Mr Marry said he completed the review of Dominic McGlinchey’s murder, but the file on Mary McGlinchey could not be located in garda stations in Louth or in Garda headquarters.
“I looked for about two months for the file. We even contacted retired members of the investigation team,” he said.
“I wrote to the authorities to say that I was unable to locate the file on Mary McGlinchey and could not progress a review of the case, but confirmed that the Dominic McGlinchey file was brought up to a 2015 standard.”
Mr Marry said a more senior officer was subsequently assigned to liaise with the McGlinchey family. The detective led numerous high profile murder investigations before retiring from the force in 2018.
Dominic Og, the sole surviving son of the McGlincheys, took legal action last year to access the inquest records on his father’s murder and is awaiting a decision from the Attorney-General about a fresh inquest into the murder of his mother.
His solicitor said he hopes to “secure answers from the State with a view to bringing closure on this tragic period his family’s life”.