Gardaí yesterday resumed their search for missing schoolgirl Mary Boyle within a few hundred metres from where she was last seen alive nearly 40 years ago.
The search, which began at 7am, was focused near a disused quarry about 250m in from the road from Cashelard to Belleek, Co Fermanagh.
It was on boggy land about 7km from Ballyshannon and 5km from Belleek.
A Hitachi digger searched a pool of water on the land of a local farmer.
Officers and a forensic anthropologist were at the scene for around seven hours.
The digger left the site empty handed at 3.15pm yesterday but nothing was found.
The search was carried out about 300m from the laneway where the child was last seen alive on March 18 1977.
This particular search had been planned for some time and it came at the request of the family, according to gardaí. A local source said that the area searched was deep.
“There would be a lot of water in that pool and they were there from 7am in the morning.
“It is fairly deep in there too as it was near an old feldspar quarry.”
The search comes 24 hours before a planned March for Mary that is due to take place in Ballyshannon today at 2pm.
And it comes 48 hours after claims by a Ballyshannon fisherman P J Coughlan where he said he saw Mary Boyle being driven away in a red Volkswagen.
A march, aimed at highlighting the disappearance of Mary, is to take place in Co Donegal this weekend.
Hundreds of people from Ballyshannon have expressed interest in attending the event, organised by local Naomi Brady.
Ms Brady, herself a twin and a mother of twins, said she was touched into taking a stand on Mary’s case after viewing a YouTube video on the Donegal child’s disappearance in Cashelard in 1977.
“I am hoping this march will spark someone into doing the right thing now. Like a lot of people I think that someone must know what happened to Mary.
“I am hoping that after all this time someone who know
s something can find it in their heart to come forward and to give the Boyle family some closure,” she said.
The march, which will start at 2pm today, will leave the Abbey Centre before walking to the garda station where a few words will be said.
Asked why the march was finishing at the garda station, Ms Brady said: “It’s where the search for Mary Boyle ended”.
She stressed the march would be a peaceful one and is non-political.
She asked anyone who is planning to attend the march to wear purple and white ribbons in honour of Mary, who was understood to be wearing similar ribbons when she disappeared.
This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.