Thursday 19 July 2018

'It doesn't get any easier' - Brother of Veronica Guerin on 22nd anniversary of her murder

'A fearless and inspirational journalist who courageously defended liberal democratic values' - Fianna Fáil TD Sean Haughey

Journalist Veronica Guerin
Journalist Veronica Guerin
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

Journalists, politicians and family members are today remembering Sunday Independent journalist Veronica Guerin on the 22nd anniversary of her murder.

The award-winning journalist was shot in her car at a set of traffic lights near Newlands Cross on the Naas Road, Dublin on June 26, 1996.

Two men on a motorcycle pulled up beside her and opened fire in a brutal attack after her investigative work exposed members of the Irish criminal underworld.

Veronica's brother, Jimmy Guerin, an Independent councillor for Howth-Malahide, said today is a "sad time for everyone".

"It doesn't get any easier as the years go by," he told Independent.ie. "We lost a great opportunity to really tackle crime, so I think that's a pity. It doesn't get any easier but we have to keep going."

Sunday Independent Editor Cormac Bourke said her sacrifice and courage will always be remembered.

“Veronica Guerin’s life was taken from her while she was reporting fearlessly on matters of major public interest. The greatest loss, of course, was suffered by her husband Graham, young son Cathal and wider family. We must never forget that.

“Journalism like hers shines a spotlight into dark corners. Those dark corners remain.

“That is why she remains an inspiration to all at the Sunday Independent – and to all journalists."

Journalists and TDs have been paying tribute to Veronica on social media, describing her as "the most courageous of journalists, murdered by cowards".

Following her death, former Fianna Fáil leader Bertie Ahern said it was "an attack on democracy as a whole because it was an attack on one of the pillars of democracy".

Veronica was born in Artane, on Dublin’s north side, which was also home to former Taoiseach Charles Haughey.

She was a close friend of the Haughey family through her involvement in Fianna Fáil.

TD Sean Haughey said today: "Remembering Veronica Guerin and thinking of her family today on the 22nd anniversary of her death - a fearless and inspirational journalist who courageously defended liberal democratic values."

Some of Veronica's most famous work included tracking down Bishop Eamonn Casey in Ecuador after he fathered a son with Annie Murphy.

The journalism she is most remembered for, however, is her articles exposing crime and corruption in Ireland.

In the early 1990s she moved into reporting on the drugs scene in Ireland. Irish Independent journalist Paul Williams described it as “undiscovered territory” for journalism at the time.

Veronica introduced criminals such as John Gilligan to the public for the first time through diligent investigations.

Her work led to the establishment of by the Criminal Assets Bureau, which by the end of 2014 had frozen crimimals’ assets worth €107million and brought in a quarter of a billion in taxes.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent ahead of the 20th anniversary of his mother's death in 2016, Cathal Turley recalled "not knowing what's going on" at her burial.

"Even though it was such a big part of my life and it was traumatic, I was still too young to understand what was going on, so I didn't really take it all in, you know.

"You remember the Mass, you really remember the emotion. Like you're standing there not knowing what's going on, and everyone around you, your whole world around you, is just bawling their eyes out.

"Family, friends, cousins, uncles, my father - they're all upset and you really don't know what is going on or why."

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