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Appeal for Information and Media Briefing 12th October 2023, Serious Crime Review of Murders of Una Lynskey and Martin Kerrigan

Issue Date: 12th October 2023

At 5.30pm on 12th October 1971 Una Lynskey left her place of employment at the Office of the Land Commission, 24 Upper Merrion St, Dublin.

She walked to Bus Aras and boarded a bus to Ratoath on her journey home.  Una was travelling with her cousin and both got off the bus close to the junction of the Fairyhouse Road and Porterstown Lane (a rural location approximately 3km from Ratoath village) at approximately 6.55pm.

The two girls spoke briefly before parting company.  Una walked towards Porterstown Lane and her home.

This was the last sighting of Una Lynskey alive.

Una’s family became concerned by 7.25pm when Una had not arrived home and shortly after 9pm Una’s boyfriend reported Una Lynskey as missing at Dunshaughlin Garda station.

Over the coming days, searches were conducted in the area of Porterstown Lane by Gardaí supported by the Garda Dog Unit, Garda Sub Aqua Unit, Civil Defence, Army and local volunteers

Gardaí also completed House to House inquiries and interviewed potential witnesses.

A number of witnesses reported having observed a vehicle described as a Ford Zodiac or Zephyr on Porterstown Lane around the time Una went missing. Varying descriptions were provided of this vehicle and its driver, by witnesses.

On the 25th October 1971, Martin Kerrigan, Dick Donnelly and Martin Conmey were interviewed over a period of time at Trim Garda station.  All three were released without charge, at that time.

On Friday the 10th December 1971 human remains were found at Glendoo, close to Glencullen in the Dublin Mountains.  The remains were identified as the body of Una Lynskey.

On the 19th December 1971 Martin Kerrigan was abducted in Ratoath and forcibly put into a car.  In the early hours of the 20th December 1971 Martin’s body was found at Tibradden, Rathfarnham, Dublin close to where Una Lynskey’s body was recovered.

John Lynskey, James Lynskey and John Gaughan were subsequently charged with Murder and convicted of the Manslaughter of Martin Kerrigan and each sentenced to three years imprisonment.

A Garda investigation file in relation to the Murder of Una Lynskey was submitted to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.  On 5th March 1972 Martin Conmey and Dick Donnelly were charged with the murder of Una Lynskey. Both were convicted of the Manslaughter of Una Lynskey and sentenced to 3 years imprisonment.

Dick Donnelly appealed this conviction and was found not guilty.

Martin Conmey served a sentence of 3 years imprisonment. In November 2010, Martin Conmey’s conviction for manslaughter was successfully appealed. In 2014, the Court of Appeal later ruled Martin Conmey’s conviction for manslaughter as a miscarriage of Justice. He has since received a state apology.

The Garda Commissioner has directed that the Serious Crime Review Team carry out a ‘Full Review’ of the investigation into the Murders of Una Lynskey and Martin Kerrigan.

Detective Superintendent McTiernan has been appointed as the Reviewing Officer and the Serious Crime Review Team (SCRT) will assist the local investigation team in reviewing this investigation.

A Senior Investigating Officer from Meath Garda Division has been appointed to oversee the local investigation team.

The Garda investigation into the murder of Una Lynskey remains an open investigation.  The future course of the investigation will be determined by the findings of the Serious Crime Review.

Detective Superintendent McTiernan, SCRT, with members of the local investigation/ review team in the Meath Division have met with the families of Una Lynskey, Martin Kerrigan, Dick Donnelly and Martin Conmey.

Today 12th October 2023, 52 years after the murder of Una Lynskey Detective Superintendent McTiernan, Serious Crime Review Team said;

"The murder of Una Lynskey on the 12th October 1971 and the subsequent murder of Martin Kerrigan on the 19th December 1971 has devastated the Lynskey, Kerrigan, Donnelly and Conmey families. Both murders still have an impact on the community in Ratoath.

Una Lynskey was 19 years old and was the fifth eldest of a family of twelve.

Martin Kerrigan was 20 years old and was the second youngest of a family of six.

The family of Una Lynskey are seeking clarity on matters relevant to the murder of their sibling on the 12th of October 1971, 52 years ago.

The subsequent prosecutions taken against Dick Donnelly and Martin Conmey have had a significant impact on them and their families.

Martin Conmey and the families of Dick Donnelly and Martin Kerrigan have questions as to the Garda investigations that took place in 1971.

I as the Reviewing Officer have been appointed to carry out a ‘Full Review’ of the investigation into the murder of Una Lynskey and Martin Kerrigan.  A ‘Full Review’ involves the ‘independent examination of all material gathered in the course of all relevant current and past investigations’.

My intent is that this ‘Full Review’ will hopefully answer all questions highlighted by the Lynskey, Kerrigan, Donnelly and Conmey families and bring the events at the end of 1971 to some conclusion for all those involved.”

Concluding Detective Superintendent Des McTiernan appealed -

"I would urge any person or persons with information in relation to the Murder of Una Lynskey and Martin Kerrigan to please come forward to either the investigation team at Ashbourne Garda Station at 01 8010600, your local Garda Station or the Garda Confidential telephone line 1800 666 111.”

"I appeal to any person who have information on these murders not to assume we know and/or that it has limited value.  Let us make that decision.”