#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: -1°C Monday 17 January 2022

Philip Cairns's mother says she'll forgive the man who may be responsible for her son's disappearance

“You still have to forgive anyway, for me to have my own peace – you have to forgive.”

PHILIP CAIRNS’S MOTHER has spoken out about the recent developments in the case of her son, saying that she will forgive the man who may be responsible.

Alice Cairns said she’s trying not to focus too much on the headlines and prefers to pray.

File Photo: Alice Cairns was talking to RTE Radio this morning about her heartbreak of losing Philip. End. Alice Cairns with her son Eoin, Philip's brother. Source: RollingNews.ie

Recent reports suggest that convicted pedophile Eamon Cooke may have killed Philip Cairns at his pirate radio station. A woman came forward claiming that she was with Cooke on the day that Cairns was abducted.

Before his death last week, gardaí spoke to 79-year-old Cooke at a hospice in Dublin where he was receiving palliative care. He is thought to have confirmed aspects of the statement, but refused to say where Cairns was buried.

Alice Cairns spoke to RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke reporter John Cooke from her home in Rathfarnham. She explained to him how she felt when she heard about the new information surrounding Eamon Cooke:

I didn’t like it but I was hoping it wasn’t true. I still don’t know what the story is and if it’s true or not.

She said she never knew of Philip being in a radio station before that and they “always knew where he was until the day he disappeared”.

While speaking to the RTÉ reporter, Alice looked up at a photograph of Philip on his confirmation day that is surrounded by candles, flowers and religious statues.

Alice told John Cooke that she feels Philip “was robbed of a future and we were robbed of him”.

When asked how she feels about Eamon Cooke, she said:

You can’t think too much either about it because you could waste your whole life feeling bad about that person. I don’t think too much about it at all.

download (3) File photo of Eamon Cooke at the Clondalkin headquarters of his pirate radio station. Source: Collins Agency

She continued that “the man is dead now”, adding, ” May the Lord have mercy on his soul.”

You still have to forgive haven’t you? For me to have my own peace – I’d have to forgive.

Asked if she wishes that gardaí got more answers from Cooke before his death, she said:

I do feel it was a bit late in the day.

However, Alice added that she understands that the woman who came forward was a victim herself:

“She was probably traumatised and maybe didn’t think it was going to happen, that he was going to die and maybe it’s only when she heard that he was dying that she felt she had to do something about it. I don’t know.”


Philip Cairns disappeared without a trace in the Rathfarnham area of Dublin on 23 October 1986. He went to school like any other day and came home during his lunch break, but he never returned to school.

Alice explained how she was usually home by tea time, but she was a little late on the day that Philip went missing as she had brought his sister to a dental appointment.

She said that when he wasn’t home, the first thing she did was check if he was with any of his friends – and soon realised that he hadn’t returned to school after lunch.

Almost a week later Philip’s bag appeared in a laneway. It had been raining but the bag was dry and two religion books were missing from it.

download (1) The laneway from Anne Devlin Road to Anne Devlin Drive. Source: Google maps

Alice said she still walks through that lane, “I think of Philip going through it – I don’t think Philip left a bag there.

“I certainly think he was abducted anyway, after that I don’t know, I have no idea.

It’s only recently that I’ve come to terms that he probably won’t come back, possibly since my husband died.

She said Philip was always on her husband’s mind, adding:

For a long time we couldn’t talk very much about him because it was too painful.

“He was always waiting and hoping too, but I think he gave up thinking he was going to see him again much quicker than I did.”

download (4) File photo of the parents of Philip Cairns in 2004 when a computer generated image of what their son would look like was released to the public.

‘A normal little boy’ 

Alice described her was son Philip as “a normal little boy” who was happy.

He was quiet, he never gave any trouble, he was a good little fella.

“He had a good sense of humour and he liked playing hurling and football and school in general.”

He had made his confirmation that previous May and had just gone into secondary school. Cairns said, “He was delighted with it and happy and able to cope.”

“He wouldn’t have been a brilliant pupil I’d say, but he listened and he got on much better in the last couple of years, he had a great teacher.”

Alice added, “There are plenty of times you think ‘Philip should be here and what would he be doing now?’ but we have to get on with life and keep the bright side.”

When asked if she believes Philip is dead, she said, “I don’t like to say that but if he’s in heaven that’s good.”

Read: Gardaí believe children were coerced into placing missing Philip Cairns’ bag in a laneway>

About the author:

Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel