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'She never gave up searching': Jo Jo Dullard's sister dies after two decade search for missing woman

Mary lobbied Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy in an effort to find her missing sister.

Mary Phelan holding a poster of her sister in 1997.
Mary Phelan holding a poster of her sister in 1997.

KILKENNY WOMAN MARY Phelan has died after a, 22-year long, tireless campaign searching for her missing sister, Jo Jo Dullard.

Mary died at her home in Cuffesgrange, Co Kilkenny, after a short illness. Her close friend, Fianna Fail TD, John McGuinness said she never got closure following her sister’s disappearance more than 20 years ago.

The 21-year-old’s disappearance shocked Ireland when she vanished without a trace in November 1995.

She went missing on the evening of November 9 while hitch hiking home from Dublin to Kilkenny.

She was last seen making a phone call from a phone box in Moone, Co Kildare. She told a friend on the phone that a car had pulled up, but was never heard from again.

Memorials to JoJo Dullard A memorial to Jo Jo Dullard in Moone. Source: RollingNews.ie

A major search was launched in the days and weeks that followed but no trace of  Jo Jo was ever found.

McGuinness described Mary Phelan as an “extraordinary woman”.

“Mary was a close friend. She campaigned tirelessly in the search for her sister Jo Jo Dullard,” he said to TheJournal.ie.

I travelled to America with her and her husband Martin. We lobbied Senators Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy and others to highlight Jo Jo’s case. She never gave up searching for Jo Jo.

“She was a very impressive woman. Unfortunately she never got closure,” he concluded.

Mary’s remains will be reposing at Molloy’s Funeral Home, Callan, Co Kilkenny on Sunday evening from 5.30.

Her Requiem Mass will be on Monday at the Church of the Holy Cross in Cuffesgrange at 11am. She will be buried in the adjoining cemetery.

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Ceimin Burke

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