National Missing Persons Day 7 December 2016
· Minister Stanton welcomes families and friends of missing persons to fourth national Missing Persons Day ceremony at Farmleigh
· Family members share their experiences
· Forensic Science Ireland speaks about the National DNA Database one year on
· Tánaiste and Minister Stanton praise the work of An Garda Síochána and the many voluntary organisations that support the families of missing persons
7 December 2016
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.
Speaking at this year’s national Missing Persons Day, Minister David Stanton said “The significance of Missing Persons Day is that families have a day to commemorate their missing loved ones. It is a day to remember family members, first and foremost, as a person, and not merely as a missing person.”
Today’s ceremony included personal contributions from Diane Sinnott, who spoke about her sister, Fiona Sinnott, Sandra Cairns who spoke about her brother, Philip Cairns, Berna Fidan, who spoke about her sister, Esra Uyrun, Nuala Cusack, who spoke about her brother, Denis Cusack and Seamus O’Brien, who spoke about his son, Cathal O’Brien. Dr. Dorothy Ramsbottom from Forensic Science Ireland also addressed those present.
Minister David Stanton was joined at the ceremony by Deputy Garda Commissioner, Dónall O’Cualáin. 'I would like to take this opportunity to thank An Garda Síochána for their continued support, and to pay tribute to the many Gardaí involved in the investigation of missing persons cases, the Missing Persons Bureau, Family Liaison Officers, and local Gardaí. I also think it is important on this day that we remember Irish Coast Guard Volunteer, Caitriona Lucas who gave her life in the line of duty in September this year' the Minister said
Both the Tánaiste and Minister David Stanton praised the valuable contribution made by the many voluntary organisations present, including National Missing Persons Helpline, Searching for the Missing and the WAVE Trauma Centre, with the Tánaiste saying “I commend the work and dedication of these organisations to families and friends all over Ireland and beyond. It is an invaluable source of comfort and support to families and friends in very difficult circumstances'.
Minister Stanton thanked Forensic Science Ireland for speaking at the ceremony and welcomed the impact of the National DNA Database. The capability of this database to link missing persons, or persons who are unable to identify themselves, to their close family relatives is a positive development. The database has the potential to bring some element of closure for families searching for their loved ones, such as in the case of the family of Pauline Finlay.
The Tánaiste met with families of missing persons and praised them for their generosity and bravery in sharing their experiences. “There is huge value in sharing experiences with other families who have gone through similar trauma. It is also important for the wider community to remember those who are missing and the very difficult situation faced by family and friends missing loved ones.”