Concern for young soccer fan missing in Poland

Tue, Jun 19, 2012, 01:00

CONCERN IS growing about the safety of a young Irish soccer fan who went missing in Poland at the weekend while out socialising with friends he had travelled with to the Euro 2012 championships.

James Nolan (21), an environmental engineering student from Blessington, Co Wicklow, was last seen in the early hours of Sunday morning in the city of Bydgoszcz, about 130km northeast of Poznan.

His family in Ireland has become very concerned for his welfare and police in Poland have launched a search for him, which is being aided by his friends and other Irish soccer fans at the tournament.

The exact details of Mr Nolan’s disappearance are not clear. He was socialising in a group of 10 Irish friends when he was last seen.

It appears the group broke up in the early hours of Sunday morning and that the last confirmed sighting of the missing man was between 1am and 1.30am.

Polish police are investigating reports that some of those in Mr Nolan’s group believed they were attracting the attention of a large group of young local men on their night out.

It appears Mr Nolan’s group may have dispersed in an effort to escape the attentions of these men.

The Irish party had stopped off in Bydgoszcz on their way from Gdansk to Poznan for last night’s game between Ireland and Italy. However, after Mr Nolan went missing, his friends scrapped their plans and are searching for him in Bydgoszcz.

Officials working with the Irish consulate in Poznan have been liaising with the authorities in Poland, who are circulating leaflets with Mr Nolan’s photograph on them in the hope that somebody may recognise him and have information on his movements.

His photograph and the appeal for information were both carried on big screens in the fan zones in Poznan last night.

Mr Nolan was last seen wearing a white T-shirt with a picture of Chuck Norris on it and was also wearing blue jeans and grey runners.

A Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman confirmed that its officials were working on the case, adding that the missing man’s family was concerned for his welfare.

Mr Nolan last spoke to his family by phone on Saturday at 8pm, just hours before he went missing.

His failure to call home or contact the friends he was with is said to be out of character.