Test confirms remains in car belong to missing politician

A DNA test has finally confirmed remains found in the wreckage of a car are those of a former local politician and businessman reported missing 23 years ago.

A chance discovery on Nov 29 last in the River Blackwater in Fermoy, Co Cork, brought some relief to the family of William (Bill) Fennessy.

He had last been seen on Mar 30, 1990. He had previously been an elected member of Cork County Council.

However, it was only yesterday gardaí were able to confirm the results of DNA tests which showed the remains were that of the 54-year-old. He had ran a successful pub, auctioneers, and undertaking business in Fermoy for many years.

Divers from the Blackwater Sub Aqua Search and Rescue Unit were undertaking a routine exercise in the river, just yards from the town’s rowing club, when they came across the rusted remains of a car.

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The vehicle was about 3.5 metres below the surface and buried in silt.

The diving team immediately informed the gardaí who cordoned off the area.

Under garda supervision, the divers returned to the scene and carried out a number of dives on the vehicle, retrieving fragments of bone from the wreckage.

Despite the decayed condition of the vehicle, gardaí believed it was probably a Daihatsu Charade, similar to one which was owned by Mr Fennessy, a former Labour Party councillor.

The vehicle had also disappeared around the same time but, unfortunately, there was no sign of the 32 ZIF registration plate on it which would have added to the confirmation.

After the discovery of the fragments of remains, an older brother of Mr Fennessy volunteered to provide a DNA sample.

When the results proved positive, gardaí immediately notified William Fennessy’s family, including his wife Noreen and a number of her children.

“We would like to offer our sympathy to all of Mr Fennessy’s relatives,” a garda spokesman in Fermoy said.

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