These figures emerged yesterday at the third annual Missing Persons Day, in Farmleigh, attended by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan.
Many of the family members of Ireland’s missing people were also in attendance.
“We are battling with a loss, every day and night. We are consumed by the loss of family members,” said Michael Jacob, the father of Deirdre Jacob, who went missing from Newbridge in the summer of 1998.
Deirdre’s case in now under a full review.
“Ask anyone in the room and they will tell you they are lost themselves. We are devastated by questions that have no answers: where, how, when, why, with whom and the biggest question of all is where he or she now?” said Mr Jacob.
He then asked gardaí to bear the loved ones of the missing persons in mind during the course of their investigations.
“There are times when investigators could communicate more with families. One bit of advice to investigators, should you say you’ll call back, please do so because waiting is our enemy and sometimes we see this as no activity,” Mr Jacob said.
Deirdre was in teacher training college in Britain and home for the summer at the time of her daylight disappearance.
Another family member to speak was Patrick Collins, brother of Sandra Collins, the 28-year-old Mayo woman, who disappeared in 2000 and who is believed to have been murdered.
A man stood trial for her murder in Castlebar in 2012, but he was acquitted.
In an emotional speech he said he hoped his beloved sister was resting in peace.
“We hope that in some small way Sandra, you know that you were loved by us, so very much and we will continue to struggle to find you and we won’t, now matter what, give up.
“ I hope we meet again. I hope we all meet our missing people one day, in whatever shape and may you rest in peace Sandra,” he said.
The room in Farmleigh yesterday, was made up of family members of Ireland’s missing, like the mother and sister of missing Wexford teenager and mother-of-one Fiona Sinnott, as well as the mother of Fiona Pender, Josephine.
A poem was read by Tom Brown, the brother of missing woman Ellen Coss Brown.
He apologised in advance if his poem, Missing Since Forever, Worse Case Scenario, upset anyone in the room.
“You’ve been missing since forever or at least that’s how it seems and that’s what I feel like replying when someone asks when you were last seen.
“Instead I just the give the standard answer — to the best of my knowledge, last seen for definite on such a date, the date that has now replaced your birthday, your first day of school, your first romance, your first job, etc, etc, has now become the date that we hate,” he read.
Also speaking was Minister Fitzgerald who spoke of how the day was something people could be “proud of” because of the union it brought to people.
She paid tribute to the families as well as the organisations who trace missing persons. She said how the event marked “a very special, a very difficult, a very important day”.
She added that new legislation establishing a DNA database that was enacted last month will be a help in resolving missing persons cases.
Commissioner O’Sullivan also spoke of changes that will help with the cases saying that the garda services and processes for missing persons is under full review.
She spoke of the empathy that gardaí need to employ when dealing with these cases.
She said at this time of year families watch the build up of Christmas with the “dull ache of someone who is missing, who used to be part of all that – it must be so hard”.
She added that each case brought with it a unique pain and that each one was ongoing “because we will never stop in our search for answers”.