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Dublin: 12°C Wednesday 21 April 2021

Unidentified man buried in Wales 32 years ago could be Irishman Brendan Dowley

A retired garda has given his DNA to Welsh authorities, who are now reinvestigating the case.

Brendan Dowley, (aged 63) missing since October 1985 Brendan Dowley was 63 years old when he went missing. Source: RTÉ Prime Time

AN UNIDENTIFIED BODY that was found on a Welsh shore 32 years ago could be that of an Irishman.

Retired garda Alan Dowley told RTÉ’s Prime Time that he has contacted Welsh police about the identification of a body that was found three weeks after his father went missing in October 1985.

“We were aware back at the time of the body found in Wales, but this was a time before DNA,” Alan Dowley said. He’s offered his DNA to Welsh police in the hope that they might be able to identify the body, which is buried in Wales.

Brendan was last seen getting on a bus in Kilkenny to visit family members in October 1985. The bus was heading for the ferry in Dun Laoghaire for onward travel to Holyhead.

After there was no word from Brendan, and his bank account remained unused, Alan reported his father as missing.

Alan Dowley speaks to Prime Time about the case of his missing father Retired garda Alan Dowley speaks to RTÉ Prime Time. Source: RTÉ Prime Time

Alan Dowley said the family had been aware in the mid-1980s of the body found in Wales, but forensics were not as advanced at that time to allow for it to be identified.

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.

Investigating Welsh police have now found that a number of surgical scars on the unidentified body seem to match Brendan Dowley’s medical history.

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.

It reports that 114 of those unidentified bodies were recovered from the western British seaboard, fuelling a belief that some may be people who drowned in Irish waters, and their bodies were then swept across the Irish Sea.

Read: Pilot flagged concerns that island was not on mapping system 4 years before Rescue 116 crash

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