`They don't know Veronica. She will not be intimidated by anyone'

A FORMER accountant, Veronica Guerin brings a forensic eye for detail to her investigative work, writes Alan Murdoch. Relentless and steel-willed, she initially specialised in international fraud inquiries for the Sunday Business Post, travelling to South Africa, Cyprus and Nigeria to put allegations to alleged criminals, a risky practice she has kept up in striving for the fullest account of events.

Before entering journalism Ms Guerin was an activist in the Fianna Fail party. In 1983 she was research assistant to the then party leader, Charles Haughey, at the New Ireland forum. She was party treasurer in North Dublin and agent for Mr Haughey's son Sean when he first stood for election to the Dail.

She subsequently ran a PR firm and was a member of the board of Dublin City University. A keen football fan, she often travels to Ireland's internationals abroad, and she played on the Irish national women's team.

As a coming-home gift her husband, Graham Turley, a building contractor, was yesterday framing photos of her with Manchester United's Andy Cole and her idol, Eric Cantona, taken last month when she visited Old Trafford. Mr Turley joked that she might nowrequire the combative French striker as a bodyguard. In 1993 she was the first reporter to interview the fugitive Bishop of Galway, Eamonn Casey, in Ecuador. She moved to the Dublin Sunday Independent as a crime reporter just over a year ago.

Her husband said she would not be intimidated by anyone. "Anyone who believes that does not know Veronica," he said.

Though in good spirits in hospital, she was noticeably less alert than usual after heavy doses of antibiotics and morphine.

She also has little recollection of the half-hour after she was wounded, when she managed to call police and ambulance from her cordless phone, though some details were coming back to her by the end of the week. The shooting occurred when her husband wasat a funeral and she was alone in the house.

The police said Ms Guerin was likely to have protection for some time following the attack.

Dublin journalists met last week to express solidarity with their wounded colleague. Fellow reporters at the Independent Newspapers group in Dublin condemned "this intimidation of a colleague in pursuit of her duties" and urged employers to be mindful oftheir responsibility to ensure the safety of journalists on dangerous assignments.

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