Minister hosts fifth annual national Missing Persons Day ceremony at Farmleigh
The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, T.D., today hosted the commemorative ceremony at Farmleigh House to mark the fifth annual national Missing Persons Day.
Missing Persons Day is an annual day of commemoration and takes place on the first Wednesday in December each year. It commemorates those who have gone missing and recognises the lasting trauma for their families and friends. It also draws attention to open or unsolved missing persons cases, and creates an opportunity to provide information on available support services.
Speaking at the ceremony, Minister Flanagan said:
“The importance of national Missing Persons Day is two-fold, providing an annual focal point to raise public awareness of missing persons cases and highlighting the vital work of many organisations, such as An Garda Siochana, Forensic Science Ireland and voluntary and local organisations around the country that provide specific support to families of missing persons.”
Missing Persons Day was first launched on 4 December 2013 and has since been developed into an annual campaign in partnership with organisations working in this area.
Today’s ceremony was attended by the families and friends of missing persons, a number of whom contributed to the ceremony by sharing the story of their missing family members. Other speakers at today’s ceremony included the Deputy Commissioner, John Twomey, Dr. Linda Williams from Forensic Science Ireland (FSI) and Tosh Lavery, Chairperson of the voluntary collective, “Searching for the Missing”. Music was provided by Wesley College Chamber Choir and the Garda Band.
The Minister referred to the increasingly important contribution made by forensic science and Ireland’s national DNA database in relation to cases of missing persons and thanked FSI and An Garda Síochána’s Missing Persons Bureau for providing a facility to collect DNA samples from family members at today’s ceremony.
Closing his remarks, the Minister said: “I hope that our national Missing Persons Day will continue to go from strength to strength over the next five years and beyond.”
The ceremony concluded with two symbolic ceremonies: the laying of remembrance roses in the Farmleigh fountain and the release of homing pigeons.