· Minister welcomes families and friends of missing persons to third national Missing Persons Day ceremony at Farmleigh
· Family members and member of Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains speak about their experiences
· Minister commends the work of An Garda Síochána and the many voluntary organisations that support the families of missing persons
· Minister highlights the recent launch of the new DNA database system

2 December 2015

Speaking at this year’s national Missing Persons Day, Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD said “Today marks the third national Missing Persons Day in Ireland and I am delighted to see this ceremony firmly embedded in our national calendar.”

Today’s ceremony included personal contributions from Patrick Collins, who spoke about his sister, Sandra Collins, Dympna Kerr who spoke about her brother, Columba McVeigh, Tom Brown, who remembered his sister, Ellen Coss, and Michael Jacob, who spoke about his daughter, Deirdre Jacob. Sir Kenneth Bloomfield from the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains also addressed those present.

Missing Persons Day provides an opportunity to raise public awareness of the numbers of people that go missing in Ireland each year. It is held annually on the first Wednesday in December. The Day commemorates those who have been reported missing and recognises the ongoing suffering for their families and friends. It also serves to raise public awareness of open or unsolved missing persons cases, and provides a platform to highlight the support services that are available to people who have lost a loved one.

The Minister was joined at the ceremony by the Garda Commissioner, Nóirín O’Sullivan. The Minister thanked the Commissioner and An Garda Síochána for the level of dedication, professionalism and care shown to each family that reports a family member as missing.

The Minister also praised the valuable contribution made by the many voluntary organisations present, saying “To the many community and national support organisations who are here – Missing in Ireland Support Services, Searching for the Missing, a number of search and rescue organisations - thank you for the wonderful emotional support and practical help you provide to our families.”

Minister Fitzgerald also spoke about the launch of the new state-of-the-art DNA Database System in November, based in Forensic Science Ireland. The Minister said, “The new database will assist An Garda Síochána in finding and identifying missing or unknown persons. A missing and unknown persons index will hold the DNA profiles developed from biological samples relating to missing persons”.

The Minister thanked the families who spoke at this year’s ceremony for their generosity and bravery in speaking about their experiences. “Your words are a source of inspiration, as we all deeply admire your ability to keep this very important conversation going. Because this conversation about our missing people must never stop. That is the driving force behind national Missing Persons Day.”