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Barbara Walsh has been missing for 36 years.
Barbara Walsh has been missing for 36 years.

'I know someone did something to her': Families mark National Missing Persons Day

Families appealed to anyone who knows anything about their loved ones’ disappearances to come forward.
Dec 1st 2021, 5:03 PM 21,147 4

BARBARA WALSH WENT missing from her home in Rusheenamanagh in Co Galway 36 years ago.

A number of locals had gathered at Barbara’s house for a party on the evening of 21 June 1985. They left in the early hours of the following morning and she fell asleep on the couch.

Her daughter woke at 4am and brought her mother a pillow and blanket – this was the last time her family saw her.

“Her kids adored her, she was just like any caring mother you could ever imagine,” Barbara’s granddaughter Aideen Walsh said today, as part of a virtual ceremony to mark National Missing Person’s Day.

She said the family knows that Barbara would not have left that night as she had children ranging in age from nine months to 18 years and “she wouldn’t leave her kids”.

“I know someone did do something to her, we just want to know what,” her granddaughter said.

She said it was “upsetting” never to get to meet her grandmother and anyone who knows what happened to her needs to understand that generations of her family grieve for her.

Disappearance of Albert Timmons

Carol Morris, whose father Albert Timmons went missing 41 years ago, also spoke about the toll his disappearance took on her. 

“Every day you’re sitting waiting for the guards to come and tell you that they found a body or found a car and it just eats away at you,” she said.

Albert went missing on 23 December 1980. He was due to have a drink with a friend, but the friend was sick so he went alone to the Viscount pub in north Dublin. This was the last sighting of the father of three.

albert Albert Timmins went missing on 23 December 1980.

“He was good fun, we always had good times in the house and he was a very quiet, happy-go-luck person,” Morris said. “Anyone who met him said he was a lovely man and he had time for everybody, he’d always do a good turn for anybody. He was just one in a million.”

She said her father was a great family man; every Saturday when he finished work he would bring home sweets for his children and every Sunday they would all go for a drive together.

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“It’s a very painful experience and you have to go through it to know,” his daughter said.

“People think a person goes missing and the longer it goes on you just forget about them, but you never forget about them.

“There’s not a day goes by that I don’t think of my da, it is very hard. You go through different emotions. You feel bitter, you feel angry, it’s just very hard.”

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said the national day is an important platform to raise awareness of these cases, but “it is also about ensuring that Ireland’s missing people are never forgotten”.

“I would like to encourage people who may have information about one of our missing people to come forward,” she said.

Any information, even if it appears insignificant or irrelevant, has the potential to be important and valuable to both those investigating the disappearance of our missing persons, and the families and friends of missing persons.

“I also want to encourage close family relatives of missing people who have yet to do so to provide a DNA sample for uploading to our national DNA database. The collection and subsequent matching of DNA samples from this database represents a key turning point in the identification of human remains in Ireland and has provided much longed-for closure for an increasing number of families.”

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Michelle Hennessy

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