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Exhumation of murdered Marie has gardai 'hopeful' of nailing killer after 34 years


The exhumation of murder victim Marie Tierney at Conahy Graveyard. Picture: Pat Moore

The exhumation of murder victim Marie Tierney at Conahy Graveyard. Picture: Pat Moore

The exhumation of murder victim Marie Tierney at Conahy Graveyard. Picture: Pat Moore

Modern forensic and DNA tests are being conducted on the remains of mother-of-two Marie Tierney in a bid to identify her killer, 34 years after her murder.

Gardai hope new technology will help validate information which came to light earlier this year in the investigation.

The tests were conducted at University Hospital Waterford (UHW) after the remains of Ms Tierney were exhumed from Conahy Cemetery in Kilkenny at dawn yesterday.


Gardai briefed members of Ms Tierney's family on developments yesterday evening.

Her relatives have waged an unrelenting campaign over more than three decades for her killer to be brought to justice.

Ms Tierney's siblings, John Bourke and Breda Fay, urged people to support the garda investigation and appealed to the killer to "do the right thing, and hand yourself in".

"We are just hoping this helps bring an end to it after all these years," Mr Bourke told the Herald.

"We strongly believe that her murderer is alive. You know who you are and we are asking you to please come forward.

"Hand yourself in for the sake of her children, her grandchildren and all her family. We need justice for Marie."

The exhumation took place just one week after the 34th anniversary of Ms Tierney's disappearance.

Special permission was required from both Kilkenny County Council and the Department of Justice for the exhumation.

The tests must be completed immediately so that Ms Tierney's body can be reburied by this morning.

A senior Kilkenny garda source said it was "hopeful" the exhumation will deliver the breakthrough required in the long-running murder probe.

New information came to garda attention from a number of witnesses earlier this year after the investigation became the focus of a full cold case review launched last November.

More than 500 lines of inquiry have been pursued, and a total of 200 witness statements have been compiled.

The 34-year-old mum was murdered on an unknown date between October 21 and December 21, 1984.

She lived with her husband, Jim, and their two children, aged 13 and 12, in Clinstown, Co Kilkenny.

At the time she vanished, the couple ran a small retail service station in the area.

Her husband reported her missing on October 22, 1984, after she had left the family home at 10.30pm the previous evening and failed to return.

It was understood she had been driving the family's Renault 18 car, with the registration number 35 HIP.

The vehicle was later found parked at Newpark Fenn in Kilkenny.

Despite an extensive search of the local countryside, no trace of Ms Tierney was found.

Two months later, on December 21, a man out walking found her body in a ditch at Bleach Road, Kilkenny.

A post-mortem examination indicated that Ms Tierney had been strangled.