A man questioned in connection with the disappearance of Mary Boyle has been has been returned to prison.
A file is to be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions pending further investigation
The 64-year-old man was being held for the kidnapping of six six-year-old Mary from Kincasslagh more than 37 years ago was living in the Ballyshannon around the time.
He was detained at Mullingar Garda Station at around lunchtime yesterday (Tuesday on suspicion of kidnapping the child.
There are reports he was a former soldier and had been stationed at Finner Camp and worked on border patrol duty in the 70s.
He was the first man ever to be arrested in relation to Ireland’s longest running missing child case and is being held on suspicion of kidnapping Mary.
He is currently serving a two year prison sentence in the Midlands Prison for sexual offences in Donegal back in the late 1960’s and 70’s. He has an address at Temple Street, Sligo.
Gardai have described his arrest as ‘significant’.
He was detained by detectives from the northern region, believed to be operating out of Sligo, following a three-year case review.
The suspect was arrested at midday under a Section 42 warrant which allows gardaí to arrest people in prison. He is being detained at Mullingar Garda Station on suspicion of kidnapping.
It has emerged the suspect wrote anonymous letters linked to the crime. The letters contain details of the disappearance that have never been published.
Investigators were never able to identify who wrote the letters and it was only when he was convicted last year of sexual and indecent assault charges he became the focus of their enquiry.
Mary went missing from her grandparents’ home in Cashelard, Ballyshannon on 18 March 1977. She had been playing outside when she followed her uncle across the fields near the house. She turned back but has not been seen since.
A garda family liaison officer has kept Mary’s mother Ann informed of developments in the case. Mrs Boyle appealed to the man if he had any information to give it to the gardai”.
Mrs Boyle said she knew the man growing up.
“He was younger than me, but I knew him alright. Gardai informed me beforehand they were going to make an arrest; they have been brilliant to me and the family for 37 years now,” she said.
“All I want is to find out what happened to my little girl,” she said.
In an indepth interview with the Donegal News last week Mary Boyle’s mother, Anne, said her ‘greatest wish before she dies is to find out what happened to her daughter’.
Anne Boyle from Belcruit, Kincasslagh said the family were ‘always living in hope’ there could be some finality to the mystery surrounding what is Ireland’s longest running missing child case.
“It is horrible for us, not knowing what happened to our wee girl,” Anne said.
“All we want is to bring it all to a finality. The gardai are reviewing the case again – I live in hope that one day she will be found. Mary is never out of my thoughts. I could be talking about something else but she is always there,”she added.
Gardai have carried out searches, issued new appeals and reviewed the case a number of times since her disappearance. They have also received help from forensic and geology experts.
Assistant Commissioner Northern Region Kieran Kenny said: “We are appealing for anyone with any information on the circumstances around Mary’s disappearance to contact us.
“Even something that people may have thought was insignificant at the time could help us advance the continuing investigation.”
Gardaí have asked anyone with information to contact Ballyshannon Garda Station on 071 9858530 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.
A garda family liaison officer has kept Mary’s mother Ann informed of developments in the case.