It had all the makings of a grand Christmas affair.

The log fires roared, the scent of the pine trees filled the air as hundreds of people gathered in the stately surrounds of Farmleigh House.

However, these strangers were gathered together in grief and in hope, to mark another year without their loved one, some of whom went missing six years ago, 19 years ago and in some cases nearly six decades ago.

“We will never give up hope that one day our phone will ring with the words we have waited almost 19 years to hear, ‘we have found Fiona’.

“Her life has to account for something. Stress has a way of manifesting itself physically in the body and we believe my dad died of a broken heart not knowing where Fiona was.”

Diane Sinnott: Her sister Fiona went missing in 1998.
Diane Sinnott: Her sister Fiona went missing in 1998.

These were the words of Diane Sinnott. Her sister Fiona, a 19-year-old mother of one has been missing, presumed murdered, since February 1998.

“We are not interested in pursuing the person who has harmed Fiona or the reason behind the crime we just want Fiona to have a decent Christian burial which she deserves, not the burial place she has at the moment.

“If the person who took Fiona away from us had got a life sentence for their crime they would be enjoying freedom by now. It’s the families who are left behind that face the real life sentence not knowing where their loved ones are,” Diane said.

The strain of these life sentences was evident on nearly every face in Farmleigh yesterday, faces of people who live in a state of perpetual waiting, waiting for the phone to ring with that vital piece of information Another sister who spoke was Berna Fidan, whose beloved sister Esra Uryun, a 38-year-old mother of one, went missing in February 2011.

“She was a young mother with plans for her future. She loved art and design. She had plans for a fashion show,” Berna said.

Berna Fiden: Her sister Esra Uryun went missing in 2011.
Berna Fiden: Her sister Esra Uryun went missing in 2011.

Esra left her home in Clondalkin at 7.15am on February 23, 2011, telling her husband she was going to the shops. Esra has not been seen since, but her car, a Renault Twingo, was discovered abandoned in Bray, Co Wicklow, a short time later.

“We are begging you, if there is anyone with information, which I truly believe there must be, please come forward and end our nightmare. We’re not interested in who this person is or why, we just need to know which way to look,” Berna said.

The gathering was the third national Missing Persons Day at Farmleigh House.

Online theories about Philip ‘deeply distressing’ to family

Philip Cairns
Philip Cairns

The sister of missing schoolboy Philip Cairns has said that a recent social media campaign into his disappearance has been “shocking and deeply distressing” for their family.

“The years since Philip’s disappearance have given rise to a lot of speculation about what may have happened to him. While much of it has been well intentioned, there have been occasions when the theories put forward were not helpful.

“More recently, there has been a campaign on social media which has been shocking and deeply distressing for our family,” Sandra Cairns said yesterday.

Philip went missing 30 years ago as he was walking back to school in Rathfarnham.

Social media campaigns linked his disappearance to convicted paedophile Eamon Cooke, as well as making other claims about the 13-year-old boy.

“Individuals who don’t know Philip or my family tried to establish themselves as an authority on every aspect of his life. They have attempted to link Philip and my family to individuals and groups who have no connection to us.

“Philip has been inaccurately described as a troubled, distressed and a vulnerable loner, and a disturbing narrative has been created which casts a sinister shadow over everything that he loved and enjoyed,” Ms Cairns said.

She was speaking on Missing Persons Day in Farmleigh House yesterday.

“This callous portrayal of him bears no resemblance to Philip, the child that we knew, and this campaign maligns his life and our family, a family who love him and have never stopped searching for him.

“For us, this campaign has been deeply disrespectful for Philip and our memories of him,” Ms Cairns stated.

Furthermore, these internet speculators have hit out at the family, telling them that they “do not own Philip’s story”.

“Some online commentators have said that we, his family, don’t own Philip’s story, but fail to realise that for us, it is not a story to be taken up and dropped on a whim. It is our life and our experience that we have to deal with every day,” his sister said.

Her greatest fear is that the lies circulating online will interfere with the investigation into her brother’s disappearance.

“My fear is that someone who has potentially valuable information may be influenced by this irresponsible campaign not to come forward to the gardaí.

“The gardaí continue to investigate Philip’s case,” she said.

Trevor’s father hopes technology unlocks case

Trevor Deely: Last seen after a Christmas party on December 8, 2000, at about 4am near Baggott St Bridge, in Dublin.
Trevor Deely: Last seen after a Christmas party on December 8, 2000, at about 4am near Baggott St Bridge, in Dublin.

Trevor Deely’s family hope technological advances will uncover clues about his disappearance as gardaí launch a review of the case.

“I’m not into technology now but the family are.

“They’re very anxious that with the CCTV footage they can get better resolution than they did [in 2000[,” said Michael Deely, Trevor’s father.

Trevor, who was 22 at the time of his disappearance, went missing on this day 16 years ago.

The Bank of Ireland employee had attended his Christmas party and stopped by the office at about 4am on December 8 near Baggot St Bridge in Dublin, to get an umbrella on his way home to Ballsbridge.

This, the last sighting of him, was captured on CCTV camera and it has now been sent by gardaí to forensic and enhancement experts in Britain.

“It’s a cold case examination which the gardaí do as a matter of course. It’ll open up all the information that they have and they’ll look through all of that and see was the right course of action taken.

“We’ve been looking for it now for the last number of years. It was the one thing we thought would unlock something. You have the professional people involved in it and then the technology improving,” Mr Deely told the Irish Examiner.

He was speaking in Farmleigh House in the Phoenix Park yesterday at the annual Missing Persons Day.

“I’m delighted. We always felt it would be useful to get a reexamination.

“They [the gardaí] have been over to the UK twice already [with the CCTV footage to a forensic enhancement expert]. They’re pleased with what they’ve seen so far,” he explained.

After 16 years, he said he has never given up hope, nor has he left the country for a holiday.

“As far as we know, he’s still missing. There’s never been a crime scene reported. There’s never been any information from any source to tie up anything.

“We’ve never gone on a holiday since,” he said.

“Course we have hope. Don’t ever lose hope. That’s the one thing that gets us up in the morning and drives us,” he added.

However, he did admit that when his son first went missing, he feared it would “drag on” with no lead.

“The biggest fear I had at that stage [16 years ago] was that it was going to carry on because I was aware of people that had been reported missing and were still missing after six or seven years. It was my one dread that this thing would drag on and be left with no information,” Mr Deely said.

Remembering the events that led up to him reporting his son as missing, Mr Deely recalls how friends and colleagues rallied together.

“Friday [December 8] he didn’t get into work, they were very surprised he wasn’t in work because he had never missed a day or an hour.

“It was Monday morning when he didn’t come in, it was very unusual, they [the office] rang home.

“Later again in the afternoon, the work people got back on again and each 15 minutes had been accounted for and they started to get panicky.

“I was trying to get out to Ballsbridge. A number of his friends from Naas had gathered in the house and myself and three of the lads decided we’d go up the gardaí and report him missing.”

  • Anyone with any information about Trevor Deely or another missing person should email or contact any Garda station.


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