Gardai issue nationwide renewed appeal over murder of taxi driver 25 years ago – – Our News, Your Views

Gardai issue nationwide renewed appeal over murder of taxi driver 25 years ago

Image source: RTE

Gardaí have renewed an appeal for information in relation to the murder of a Galway taxi driver 25 years ago.

Eileen Costello O’Shaughnessy’s killer has never been brought to justice.

The mother-of-two’s family, friends and colleagues will gather this morning in Galway to mark the anniversary of her death.

The murder of Mrs Costello O’Shaughnessy numbed Galway and its hinterland in the weeks leading up to Christmas 1997.

Her relatives then recounted how she was always aware of the risks she ran, being at the time one of the few female taxi drivers in the city.

She didn’t accept a fare that she didn’t like and was very aware of the need to be aware of the risk of robbery or assault.

Throughout the day, there was nothing to suggest anything was wrong. The Corofin native met a colleague for afternoon coffee and visited her mother.

CCTV footage captured her entering Supermac’s at Eyre Square shortly after 6pm. Numerous witnesses saw her in and around the adjacent taxi stand throughout the night.

By 20:00 as she was nearing the end of her shift, her car was seen on the Tuam road.

A few minutes later she radioed the Galway taxi base to inform the dispatcher that she was bound for Baile Chláir (Claregalway) with a ticket. That must have been the last contact she made.

Subsequent attempts to contact her via the radio system were unsuccessful. The concern grew when she was unable to stamp and deliver the cab she was driving later that night.

As these fears mounted, taxi drivers took to the streets in search of their colleague.

Just before midnight, they found the silver cab at the site of the Lydon House bakery at the north end of town. The interior of the vehicle was smeared with blood, but there was no sign of Mrs. Costello O’Shaughnessy.

Between 8.00pm and 9.00pm, she was brutally attacked and her body dumped on a remote lane of the old N17 between Galway and Tuam.

The Gardaí immediately launched a full-scale homicide investigation, with a team of 50 detectives assigned to the case. In the days and weeks that followed, they interviewed family members, colleagues, friends and passengers with whom she had interacted, some for extended periods.

Investigators conducted hundreds of interviews, locally, nationally and internationally. But no murder weapon was ever recovered, and Mrs. Costello O’Shaughnessy’s killer was never caught.

In the 25 years since, parts of the puzzle have remained frustratingly elusive.

The silver Toyota Carina was seen on the N17, returning towards Galway at 8.45pm on the night of 30 November 1997. It was driven by a bearded man, who has never been identified.

Nor was a woman spotted near the lane about 15 minutes earlier. She was said to be in a “distracted state”.

At 9:00pm, a man between 5’9″ and 5’11” was seen jumping off a wall near where the cab was found. His identity remains undetermined.

The occupants of a red car, which reversed down the lane in the early hours of Monday, December 1, never came forward to respond to distress calls.

Among the theories, speculations, rumors and thought processes that have developed in the months and years following the murder, there are also some certainties. First of all is that, in this case, time has not healed all the wounds.

Ms. Costello O’Shaughnessy left two adult children. Her ex-husband, brothers and her mother also had to deal with the loss of her and try to move on, as the events of November 30, 1997 kept an unshakable grip on their lives.

That grip is clear to see in the eyes of both Martin and PJ Costello, Ms. Costello O’Shaughnessy’s brothers. The former still lives near Corofin’s old house, the latter across the ocean in Canada.

This week they spoke of their desire for justice to be done.

However, they are also aware, as the years go by, memories fade, people die, chances diminish.

“I’d be still hoping that something might happen, that they might still get someone for it, but I’d say after 25 years now, this is the last throw of the dice,” said Martin Costello, reports RTE.

He remembers her sister as “all out for the craic, mad for dancing and mad for card playing, she liked the bit of fun all the time”, reports RTE.

On a Zoom call from Canada, there are similar sentiments from PJ Costello.

“We never came up with a motive or any concrete idea, so it would be comforting to find a solution and bring the search to an end,” he said, reports RTE.

He remembers a “plucky” woman who had her whole life ahead of her, before that future was snatched away from her.

PJ shares her brother’s view that with each passing year the prospects of uncovering the truth about what happened slip a little further. But hope remains.

“There are almost certainly a number of people out there who know that truth. They may be afraid to come forward or they may be protecting a close relative. But I would urge anyone who knows something to come forward, anonymously,” he said, reports RTE.

As her former colleagues prepare today to unveil a new plaque in her memory, the Gardaí say their investigation into the murder remains active.

They’re hoping that someone somewhere can break a quarter-century silence and help solve this murder mystery.

Tell us your thoughts in the Facebook post and share this with your friends.

Share this story with a friend

Share this story

Tell us what you think on our Facebook page