THE need for those in authority and the ordinary citizen to take a greater role in helping to trace the missing was highlighted on Sunday at the 10th anniversary of the erection of a sculpture dedicated to the missing and their families in the city’s Castle Park.
The event was attended by two of Jo Jo Dullard’s sisters, Mrs Kathleen Bergin and Nora Dullard. Jo Jo from Callan has been missing for the last 17 years after going missing on her way home from Dublin on cold and dark November night.
Deputy John McGuinness asked why the civic authorities in Ireland and the corporate sector could not do more to help the families of those who have disappeared.
“If you look at England and America you see many photos of people who cannot be found on the sides of milk cartons and continuous appeals on television for people who have been missing for a long time. He said.
“A child that was missing in the US for 14 years was found after years of leaflet drops and putting his name on the sides of milk cartons,” he added.
He also pointed out that there was a link between the New York Police department and the Gardai through the Jerry McCabe Fellowship. “Officers are sent over to New York for specialised training under the scheme and we should be sending people over to get trained by the best in the business in tracing missing persons. We are not looking beyond this jurisdiction to solve these missing person cases and we should be,” he said.
He is persisting with his call for a specailised unt in the gardfai and said that it could be managed by recently retired gardai and that it would be cheap to run. He was reacting to the idea of Catherine Costelloe of the Irish Missing Persons Bureau.
Mary Phelan, Jo Jo’s other sister couldn’t attend the event as she is recovering at hone following an accident.
The event was attended by Bishop Seamus Freeman who spoke with family members of those who are missing. He read a special prayer, dedicated to the missing people on the island of Ireland. Kathleen Bergin also recited a prayer.
Newly elected mayor, Sean O’hArgain spoke of the huge amount of voluntary work involved in trying to find answers to what has happened the many missing people in Ireland like Philip Cairns, the Dublon schoolboy whose mother is from Connhy and who attends the memorial on his birthday every year. He said we should do more to keep the memory of these people in the public domain.
The Kilkenny Gospel Choir performed a number of fitting songs including Amazing Grace and Swing Low Sweet Chariot under the expert guidance of Fr Willie Purcell.