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'I want them to know I'm his granddaughter': Victim of sex offender John Murray waives anonymity

Former Lord Mayor John Murray, who was convicted of sexual assault in the 1990s, died over the weekend.

John Murray, then aged 83, former Lord Mayor of Cork.
John Murray, then aged 83, former Lord Mayor of Cork.
Image: Screengrab/RTÉ

THE VICTIM OF convicted sex offender and former Cork City Lord Mayor John Murray has waived her anonymity for the first time to speak out about condolences offered on Murray’s death over the weekend.

Fianna Fáil councillor Sean Martin, brother of the party leader Micheál Martin, proposed a vote to extend condolences to the Murray family on the announcement of his death and was passed, according to Cork’s RedFM.

Elaine Murray, the granddaughter of the late John Murray, called the Neil Prendeville show on RedFM this morning to criticise the decision, which she agreed was like “a slap in the face” and a repeat of the abuse.

“I’m just so disappointed that it’s back in the media again, it’s back in the media for all the wrong reasons. I’m just so upset that it was even mentioned in the city council the other night. It shouldn’t have been a topic, I shouldn’t have to talk to you today.”

She spoke to host Prendeville about why she decided to come forward.

“Three years have passed. I have got a lot of help and a lot of support since then that I can talk about this topic again. I want to put it back in its box so it doesn’t affect me anymore.”

I want people of the city to know that I am his granddaughter.

“There has been a lot of talk today and yesterday about a family grieving, and there are members of the Murray family that will be grieving, but there has been such a divide in our family, that for other members, this is a relief that that man is gone.”

That divide, the host clarifies, is caused by those who believe in his innocence and for those who believe in his guilt amongst his own children. He has five children – three of them were mentioned in his death notice, but Elaine’s dad and aunt weren’t mentioned.

“They stuck by me the whole way, my parents, my sisters, my aunt and her family have been so supportive.”

John Murray was mayor of Cork City for 14 years. In 2013, the then-83-year-old was convicted and jailed for 12 months for sexual assault, in which Elaine requested anonymity.

She said that her grandfather never threatened her not to tell anyone, but said that ”there was a time that we were very united as a family, and I just didn’t think I would be believed”.

Then something happened to me a couple of years back that made me realise I could not carry this with me anymore.

“I told my parents and my family, [we called a meeting and confronted him] and he admitted it in front of our entire family. He admitted to certain aspects of the abuse.

“But by the time we got to court he had retracted from that, and said the only reason he admitted it was because he feared for his life, that my father was going to cause some sort of ‘rumpus’ as he called it at the time.”

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She said that the court case was “very very hard” at the time because it was being covered by the media nationwide, and her grandfather was such a prominent figure.

“I knew I couldn’t airbrush history, I never wanted to airbrush history. His name is still in bronze on plaques around the city and I appreciate that.

“But for me, the photograph was a big deal – I’d be in City Hall a lot and I didn’t want to have to look at that photograph of a convicted sex offender.

“It was taken down, but I had to call them myself before it was taken down.”

Cork City Hall removed the portrait of John Murray after a meeting between party whips in 2013.

Read: Portrait of former Cork Mayor removed after victim’s plea

Read: Sexual assault victim just wanted to be believed

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