A CONVICTED paedophile is insisting he had no involvement in the disappearance of Donegal schoolgirl Mary Boyle, missing since March 1977.
Brian McMahon (65) said that he knew members of the Boyle family but had nothing to do with the case of the missing girl.
He was arrested from prison last November by a special garda team investigating Mary's disappearance from close to her grandparents' home at Cashelard, Ballyshannon, Co Donegal.
Former Irish army soldier and amusement arcade owner McMahon was jailed for two years in 2013 for a string of sex offences against boys in south Donegal in the 1970s and 80s.
He had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to 35 charges of indecent assault of the boy between 1966 and June 1974 at two locations in Ballyshannon. He was convicted by a jury of 31 of the charges.
McMahon was six years older than the victim who was aged 10 when the offences started. McMahon was also convicted of one charge of indecently assaulting the boy's younger brother, between September 1973 and September 1974, also in Ballyshannon. The victim was aged 13 at the time. Both men later given permission to reporters to name McMahon.
McMahon said he left Ballyshannon in 1980 because he had been discharged from the army on medical grounds. He said he had a drink problem at the time.
"I know I had nothing to do with disappearance of that girl," McMahon told the Sligo Champion.
He said he was linked to the case after a RTE documentary was aired and a viewer remembered McMahon pointing out the home where Mary, aged six, was last seen alive.
"I have found a lot of people from the Ballyshannon area and in Sligo believe me and are very supportive since the case (arrest).
"In particular people would have said 'you couldn't possibly have done it'. They recall my time at The Jam Pot (amusement arcade in Sligo) when they were all young kids there, long before there were regulations and nothing untoward happened there all those years.
"I would say that I was different, that I had my own idiosyncrasies. I'd be different in that I was always private and reclusive in many ways."
McMahon said he knew Mary Boyle's mother when he lived in Ballyshannon and before she got married and moved to Kincasslagh.
Mary was with her parents on a visit to grandparents when she disappeared.
Extensive searches since have failed to find her.
McMahon said he felt ill when he was arrested by gardai and taken to Mullingar Garda Station to be questioned.
"I was violently sick all the way up to Mullingar (from prison) and I didn't eat for two days," said McMahon.
Assistant Commissioner for the Garda's Northern Region, Kieran Kenny, has been leading the investigation into Mary's disappearance. There have been two reviews of the case.