Search for Philip Cairns to continue for third day

A DIG at a Dublin golf course as part of the search for Philip Cairns, who has been missing for 23 years, is likely to continue into a third day.

Over two decades after the then 13-year-old schoolboy went missing while walking to school, a Garda team spent a second day exploring ground beside the Grange Golf Club off the Whitechurch Road in Rathfarnham yesterday.

The search of the wooded area, not far from the Cairns home in Ballyroan Road, began on Wednesday after information emerged following an appeal last year.

The search is being led by a geophysicist alongside a full Garda Technical Bureau Team.

Philip disappeared on his way back to school having had lunch with his family on October 23, 1986.

The case has baffled gardaí for more than two decades.

Despite a massive search in the days after his disappearance, he could not be located, although six days after he went missing Philip’s schoolbag was found in a laneway near his home.

The bag contained pencils and pencil case, but a geography book and two religion books were missing.

The bag had not been found there during a previous search of the laneway.

It has been suspected that Philip may have been abducted by someone known to him, although gardaí have not been able to rule out the possibility that he was taken by a stranger.

Crimestoppers are still offering a €10,000 reward for information that could help solve the case, one of the most high-profile disappearances in Ireland in recent decades.

Eoin Cairns, Philip’s brother, said yesterday that they were thankful for the work of the gardaí, but said the family had not been given any additional information around the circumstances of the operation off Whitechurch Road.

“We have not been briefed privately by the gardaí,” Mr Cairns said.

“We are aware that the investigation is on-going and if anyone has any information they should talk to the gardaí in Rathfarnham.

“They are following different lines of inquiry – this is just one of them.

“We do not have any renewed optimism but obviously we are thankful for what the gardaí are doing.”

On the 20th anniversary of Philip’s disappearance, the family proclaimed that they were still hopeful that Philip was alive and that they might see him again.

The investigation into Philip’s disappearance has never led to the arrest of a suspect, although recent inquiries have led gardaí to speak again to people who were in the area at the time Philip went missing, some of whom now live overseas.

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