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Saturday 30 August 2014

Veronica Guerin’s mother Bernie dies in hospital

Conor Feehan

Published 15/01/2014 | 08:58

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Bernie Guerin
Bernie Guerin
Veronica Guerin pictured shortly before her murder on the 26th June 1996
Veronica Guerin pictured shortly before her murder on the 26th June 1996

The death has occurred of Bernie Guerin, the mother of crime journalist Veronica Guerin, who was murdered in 1996.

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She had been staying with her daughter Claire in Co Kerry and died in hospital last night.

After her daughter’s murder Bernie Guerin campaigned for money seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB), which was established in the wake of her daughter's death, to be used to help communities destroyed by drugs.

Veronica was shot dead by the gang controlled by drug trafficker John Gilligan who later went on to develop the Jessbrook equestrian centre before he was arrested and imprisoned for 17 years.

Jessbrook was eventually seized by CAB, leading to calls by Bernie that the proceeds from its sale be used for  "something Veronica would have wanted".

"My one hope is that it is not going to go into the banks or disappear into government funds," she said in 2012.

Bernie, who rarely spoke publicly, said that the funds raised from the sale of John Gilligan's equine enterprise in Co Kildare should not just disappear into public funds.

"If they got it because Veronica was murdered it was Veronica who got it -- therefore I feel that in her memory, 16 years after her death, it should be used to do something she would have wanted, something to help the less fortunate in our society. I really do believe that," she added.

"Veronica had so much sympathy for those people and the least she deserves is that something will be done in her memory -- after all, the Criminal Assets Bureau was set up as a direct response to her murder," Bernie had explained.

Speaking on a documentary about the CAB broadcast in 2008 Bernie recalled how it was her son Jimmy who broke the news to her that Veronica had been killed.

"I can't remember an awful lot. I just remember screaming. My screaming was hurting my ears," she said.

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