Philip Cairns’s mother hopeful someone will come forward

Alice Cairns, the mother of missing schoolboy Philip Cairns, has reiterated her hope that someone will come forward with information about her son, after it emerged there is so far no DNA link with convicted paedophile and radio DJ Eamon Cooke.

Last May, the possibility that Cooke may have been involved in the 1986 disappearance of the schoolboy became the focus of a garda investigation after a woman made a statement in which she said Cooke had picked up Philip and brought him to the Radio Dublin studios in Inchicore.

The woman told gardaí that she saw Cooke hit Philip with an implement, and that he may have killed him, but she had then fainted and later woke up in a car being driven by Cooke.

The claims sparked checks of land owned by Cooke in the Dublin Mountains, while it is understood the woman’s version of events was backed by others who came forward.

Cooke, who died in June in a Dublin hospice, had admitted to gardaí that he knew Philip but did not make any admissions regarding his disappearance.

Yesterday, it emerged that DNA samples taken from Philip’s schoolbag, found near his home after he went missing, do not match those of Cooke.

The samples were analysed by Forensic Science Ireland. Other items belonging to Cooke, such as personal documents, diaries, and tapes given by his family and the prison service, are still being analysed.

It is understood gardaí are not ruling out Cooke as a suspect in the disappearance of the 13-year-old. One possibility is that Cooke could have worn gloves when handling the bag, while gardaí also want to speak to as many as three people who, as children, may have left Philip’s schoolbag in a laneway near his home in Ballyroan where it was found a week after he was last seen.

Gardaí have stressed that anyone who comes forward with information has nothing to fear while yesterday Alice Cairns told the Irish Examiner: “It’s [down to] someone with the courage to come forward, if they know something.”

Of the garda investigation she said: “It is good that they are going into everything,” but she repeated what she said in a recent RTÉ interview that she did not believe Philip knew Cooke and that whatever happened “happened on the day”.

As for the claims about Cooke she said: “It came out of the blue — we just go along with what comes along.”


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