Journalist Veronica Guerin was known for her tenacity when it came to getting the facts. Working as a crime reporter in Dublin, Ireland, in the '90s, she had no qualms about having a chat with a hardened criminal if it meant getting a story. Her brave reporting brought her awards and accolades, as well as respect from her peers, and her direct impact on crime in Ireland had a lasting effect.
Tragically, it was Veronica's fearlessness that brought about her untimely death. After numerous brushes with several violent figures from Dublin's criminal underworld, she was murdered in 1996 by the Gilligan drug gang for what she'd uncovered.
Guerin's legacy is an enduring one of journalistic courage and she is remembered to this day for setting an incredible standard in crime reporting. The Veronica Guerin movie, starring Cate Blanchett, brought her heroic and tragic tale to life in 2003. This list explores the amazing story of Veronica Guerin, the Irish journalist who lost her life in a quest for the truth.
In October of 1994, Veronica Guerin got her first taste of violent retribution from the underworld figures she was reporting on. After her story on the life and murder of "The General," a legendarily sadistic Dublin drug lord whose real name was Martin Cahill, she received two gunshots through the front window of her home. This act was meant to signal a warning to Guerin – leave gangland alone. After all, The General was a man who once crucified someone and plotted to kidnap Bono's children, and he didn't need his name further besmirched by some nosey reporter, regardless of his death. Guerin was unscathed from the shooting, and she dismissed the gunfire as merely a warning.
In 1995, Guerin began reporting on the largest heist in Irish history. A gang had broken into a depot near Dublin airport, making off with over $4.4 million, and Guerin – enterprising reporter that she was – managed to interview one of the suspects. She did not reveal the alleged thief's name, but she wrote a detailed piece that gave an inside look at the caper.
A few days after her story was published, Guerin had a knock at her front door. When she went to answer it, she was greeted with a revolver pointed at her face. The intruder lowered his pistol and shot Guerin in the thigh. Leaving the hospital on crutches, Guerin went and visited every crime boss she knew to let them know that she would not be intimidated, proclaiming: "No hand can deter me from my battle for the truth."
On June 26, 1996, Veronica Guerin was stopped in her vehicle at a red light in a Dublin suburb. As she picked up her phone to make a call, two men on a white motorcycle pulled up beside her and fired four shots – three into her heart, one into her neck. She died instantly. She was a week from turning 37.
Guerin was beloved in Ireland, and the nation mourned her passing. On July 4, a moment of silence was observed for Guerin, with people on buses, trains, and in the streets quietly paying their respects.
After two attacks, the Sunday Independent had a security system installed at Guerin's home, and the Dublin police department furnished her with a 24-hour escort. She quickly scuttled the escort, citing him as a hindrance to her work, and continued her beat as a crime reporter.
In September of 1995, Guerin visited notorious Irish drug lord John Gilligan at his horse farm. She pressed Gilligan about how he could afford such a lavish lifestyle with no obvious source of income. The drug boss became enraged and ripped Guerin's shirt off in search of a wire. Guerin managed to escape, but Gilligan called her later, threatening to kidnap, rape, and kill her son if she published the story.