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Body found in Wales confirmed to be Irish man missing since 1985

Brendan Dowley was last seen boarding a bus in order to get a ferry to London.

Brendan Dowley
Brendan Dowley
Image: RTÉ Prime Time

THE BODY OF a man found in Wales in 1985 has been confirmed as being an Irishman who went missing that same year.

Brendan Dowley was 63 when he was last seen boarding a bus in Kilkenny with a plan to get a ferry to Britain. That was October 1985, and a month later a body washed up on the Welsh coast. However, it was not identified as DNA analysis was not as advanced then as it is now.

Dowley’s family have been working with the North Wales police and the body (which was buried in a Welsh cemetery) was exhumed.

In July 2017, RTÉ Prime Time covered the case. Brendan Dowley’s son, retired garda Alan Dowley, said that he had contacted Welsh police about the identification of a body that was found three weeks after his father went missing in October 1985.

In 1986 Welsh police had looked for my father’s dental records, but we did not have them. Things seemed to fizzle out after that. There was no way to identify the body.

The case was highlighted by Prime Time as part of a report on a garda initiative called Operation Runabay, which looks to find out how many Irish bodies may be among the 600 unidentified bodies buried in cemeteries in Britain.

North Wales Police said yesterday that the tests on the body exhumed from the unmarked grave “appear to be positive”.

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Alan Dowley spoke to RTÉ yesterday and said that the news “provides closure for our family”. An inquest is due to be held in Wales, he said. Alan Dowley’s mother is still alive and is aged 97 years old.

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