RTÉ One, Thursday, 7.00pm

Scannal - Veronica Guerin

Monday 31st March 2008 RTÉ ONE 19.30 hrs

The shooting dead of Veronica Guerin on the Naas dual Carriageway on June 26th 1996 caused public outrage and revulsion. The story of her killing sent shockwaves right around the world. Her death rocked the Government, the Gardaí and the media. The then Taoiseach John Bruton declared it "an attack on democracy". There was already a high level of public anxiety with the killing of Detective Sergeant Jerry McCabe over two weeks earlier in Adare. The floral tributes to Veronica Guerin piled up at the gates of the Dáil; the queues to sign the book of condolences grew longer. The airwaves were jammed with callers demanding that something be done.

This week the Scannal looks back at the events that surrounded the murder of Veronica Guerin and the fallout. Her family and friends remember a funny, gregarious young woman who adored Charlie Haughey, she and her friends waved placards of support in front of Dáil Eireann, during one of the attempts to oust him in the early eighties. They also remember a very ambitious and doggedly determined journalist .

"She was reckless and I mean that in the nicest possible way" Séan Haughey TD

Some feel, at times, she was naïve to the possible danger that surrounded her. Her brother Jimmy is convinced if she knew that there was a real possibility she'd end up being killed she would not have done the job she did.

"There were articles in the newspapers which said I had pretty much blood on my hands" Nora Owen
Nora Owen, then Minister for Justice, still feels hurt at the isolation she felt and the anger that was directed at her in the weeks following Veronica Guerin's killing.

An unprecedented Garda investigation was undertaken in the wake of her death. The Criminal Assets Bureau was set up. State protected witnesses were used for the first time. Even using the juryless special criminal court, only one person, Brian Meehan, was successfully convicted of her murder and sentenced to life in prison. Jimmy Guerin finds this hard to accept
"..The awful thing in Veronica's case is that the law was applied more vigorously than justice applied." Jimmy Guerin

But twelve years on what is Veronica Guerin's legacy? has anything really changed as a result of her murder?.

"There is younger more vicious breed of criminal who doesn't know the name Veronica Guerin and who couldn't care less" Paul Reynolds RTÉ Crime Correspondent

Reporter: Padraig O' Driscoll
Producer/Director: Niamh Ní Churnáin

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