Wednesday 13 December 2017

'We want Meg's killer to come clean'

Daughter in desperate bid to get justice for her mother

Meg's daughter Sasha Keating and brother James Walsh light candles outside the murdered mum's former home in Co Waterford to mark what would have been her 40th birthday
Meg's daughter Sasha Keating and brother James Walsh light candles outside the murdered mum's former home in Co Waterford to mark what would have been her 40th birthday

Eimear Ni Bhraonain and Ciaran Murphy

THE daughter of murdered Meg Walsh wants a meeting with the Justice Minister in a desperate bid to get her mother's killer behind bars.

Sasha Keating (21) pleaded with her mother's killer to "come clean" as she released 40 balloons over Waterford to mark what would have been Meg's 40th birthday.

The family of Ms Walsh have not given up their fight for justice since the woman's naked body was found in the River Suir in October 2006.

They also held a candle-lit vigil outside Ms Walsh's former home in Ballinakill Downs in Co Waterford -- where her widower, John O'Brien (44), still lives.

Mr O'Brien, a bus driver, was acquitted of her murder in 2008.

He did not attend the ceremony to mark her birthday on Saturday.

The investigation into Ms Walsh's murder was one of the largest in the history of the State. Thousands of people assisted in what was firstly a missing person's inquiry, however, it was stepped up after Ms Walsh's body was found.

Ms Walsh's brother James has been highlighting the case, along with Ms Keating, Meg's daughter from a previous marriage, since her murder.

Message

"There's no doubt that that person has to go to bed at night, has to think and have all sorts of things in their mind at different times," Mr Walsh said.

He said it was time for this person to come "clean".

Up to 70 people attended the event in Waterford city on Saturday to see the red and white balloons -- Ms Walsh's favourite colours -- being released.

They also carried a banner sending out a clear message to Justice Minister Dermot Ahern. It read: "Thank you for commemorating Meg's 40th birthday -- but where is the justice, minister?"

Ms Walsh would have been 40 on December 31 last and her daughter said she would have been throwing a party to celebrate the milestone.

"It's still a huge struggle for me to cope with the fact that she's no longer around," she said. Mr Walsh added: "We'd like to know after four years, how come no one's been brought to book for Meg's killing?

"It's a crying shame we're not celebrating instead of commemorating but that's the way it is and I think it's important that the occasion should be marked."

After releasing the balloons and throwing flowers into the river, the congregation moved out to Ballinakill Downs.

Candles were lit and placed on the windowsill of the house. Flowers were also left at the home and Ms Keating put a memoriam card through the letterbox. Mr O'Brien was not at home at this time.

Ms Keating said: "It seems that people have forgotten and this is another reason for doing this . . . this was my mum and she's not here anymore so."

Mr O'Brien was cleared of his wife's murder in his trial, which had up to 120 witness accounts, at the Central Criminal Court in May 2008.

Irish Independent

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