THE Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has warned internet users to be careful about meeting people on the web.
He offered his advice this afternoon as he was commenting on the major garda investigation into the murder of Dublin woman, Elaine O’Hara.
Mr Callinan said it was too early to speculate on suggestions that she might have made contact with her killer on the internet and was concerned that some of the speculation might not be helpful to their inquiries.
But he said that he, and any police officer, would advise users to be careful when communicating with others on the internet.
“The internet is a marvellous creation but I would tell people to know who you are dealing with and know the circumstances surrounding your business on the net.
“They should exercise reasonable caution and care, as in any other facet of life”, Mr Callinan added.
He said the garda priority now was to find the remainder of the woman’s remains and he promised that his force would do their utmost to bring their inquiries to a successful conclusion.
Asked if there might be any connection between this case and the six murders being investigated under Operation Trace, he acknowledged that the O’Hara investigation contained all of the elements involved in the Trace inquiries but warned that it was too early to consider whether there might be a link.
Mr Callinan was speaking at the opening of a cross border police conference in Dundalk where senior garda and PSNI officers are reviewing strategies on how to deal with major crimes that have dimensions in both jurisdictions.
Gardai are pieceing together several locations linked to the death of Ms O’Hara whose body was found in a mountain forest.
A key fob belonging to her was found in the Vartry reservoir near Roundwood, Co Wicklow, after a caretaker at the site spotted belongings when water levels dropped.
Searches in the silt and mud recovered a pair of handcuffs and a rucksack but it has not been confirmed if they are linked to Ms O'Hara or her disappearance.
The 36-year-old went missing on August 22 last year.
A number of locations have been linked to her final movements since her body was discovered in undergrowth by a woman walking her dog in the Killakee of Rathfarnham in the foothills of the Dublin mountains last Friday.
Gardai are trying to establish if someone dumped her belongings in the reservoir and how long they have been there.
Ms O'Hara's final movements and the location of her abandoned car are also key to the inquiry.
She was seen leaving Belarmine Plaza, Stepaside, where she lived, at approximately 5.05pm on August 22.
It is understood her phone records and computer history have been checked to establish if she made arrangements to meet someone that night.
There is also a report that she was at a footbridge over a railway line at Shanganagh Park, Shankill, Co Dublin.
Ms O'Hara's car, a Green Fiat Punto with 05-D registration, was found at Shanganagh cemetery, Shankill, two days after she disappeared.
Initially it was thought she might have been there visiting her mother's grave.
The last confirmed sighting of her was at Ballinclea Heights in Killiney, the family home.
Her skeletal remains, including jaw bone and teeth and leg bones, were found in the forest last Friday and underwent DNA and forensic analysis over the weekend.
Ms O'Hara's family were contacted about the discovery before the identity had been confirmed and they were then notified of her death.
Belongings had been recovered from the drying-out reservoir two days earlier in an apparent coincidence.
Further searches, including by Garda divers, have taken place at the site near Roundwood over the last few days and further inspections are due.
The distance from Stepaside to Killiney, where Ms O'Hara was last seen, is about 10km (six miles) while it is approximately another 4km (2.5 miles) to the Shanganagh area.
The site in the Killakee area where her skeletal remains were found is about 20km (12.5 miles) from where her car was discovered and the reservoir near Roundwood where some of her belongings were found is a further 40km (25 miles) to the south.