Missing person pix show fragility of life for us all

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Every day in Ireland someone goes missing; some days there are more than a few. Most are missing for a day or two and are found safe and well, but for others it’s the end of the line and for their families the start of a nightmare.

The latest official figures from the Garda Pulse database show that the number of live missing persons investigations rose by 38 to almost 900 active cases this year.

Over the past eleven years, nearly 40,000 people were reported missing in Ireland – and of course many cases are solved within hours or several days, but some stay on that list forever.

Perhaps saddest of all is another list – from the Unidentified Human Remains Database which includes all of the known details of the 44 people which could prove vital in bringing closure to the families of the missing.

Details of their clothes, jewellery, tattoos and dental work are all included on the database, as well as the locations of where they were found – but despite the best efforts, nobody knows their name.

And what brings this home to me daily is that, almost every time a person is reported missing, the Gardaí issue a press release to that effect.

It’s a critical part of a wonderful service, because it’s a physical description of the person – height, weight, hair colour, unique characteristics – as well as a list of what they were wearing when they were last seen.

And it is always accompanied by a photograph.

Even when the missing person is from a different part of the country – and therefore the appeal isn’t really directed at the Connacht Tribune – I still look at those photos with a sadness.

The Gardaí send out these notifications as early as they can because time is obviously of the essence before it is too late.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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