Search for missing men moves back to Cavan

Divers abandon search of Co Westmeath lake for missing Dublin men

The grey/silver Ford Focus car, in which the men had been travelling, was found at the viewing car park at Lough Owel near Mullingar. Photograph:  Willie Farrell.

The grey/silver Ford Focus car, in which the men had been travelling, was found at the viewing car park at Lough Owel near Mullingar. Photograph: Willie Farrell.


Garda divers have abandoned a search of a lake in Co Westmeath for two missing men, leaving uncertainty as to their whereabouts.

It is now four days since Eoin O’Connor (32) and Anthony Keegan (33) have been seen after they travelled to Co Cavan for an arranged meeting on Tuesday.

Their families reported the men missing and there are serious concerns for their wellbeing. Both are from Coolock in north Dublin and are known to gardaí.

An intensive search of the countryside around Ballyjamesduff in Co Cavan was carried out on Thursday, but efforts were diverted to Lough Owel in Co Westmeath yesterday following the discovery of the grey/silver Ford Focus car in which the men had been travelling. The Ford Focus, registration number 04 D 46380, was found at the viewing car park at Lough Owel, just off the N4 near Mullingar.

Gardaí believe they went to a meeting in or around the area but they never returned home, prompting their families to raise the alarm. Friends and family, at one stage numbering up to 30, maintained a presence at the lake throughout yesterday’s search.

There was a significant Garda presence at the scene, including members of the Crime Scene Investigation Unit and the Armed Response Unit.

Garda divers arrived just after lunchtime and entered the water; however, the operation was called to a halt at 4pm.

Lough Owel is a local beauty spot and is popular for fishing and swimming.

Sources indicated search efforts would revert to Co Cavan. However, much of the investigation is now likely to centre on the car, with detectives eager to establish its movements between Cavan and Westmeath. It was taken for forensic examination.

On Thursday a number of people were interviewed by gardaí in an attempt to piece together the movements of the men. “They told gardaí that they had gone to Cavan and believe they had come to a bad end,” said one well-placed source. “As of now there is no sign of them. No one has seen them . . . and we haven’t found any bodies, but there are serious concerns.”

Search efforts have been made more difficult due to the rural landscape, which includes small lakes, streams and drumlins.

Farmers in particular have been asked to check their land and out-houses for any sign of the men or evidence of recent movements.

Mr O’Connor was last seen on the evening of April 22nd at Kilbarron Avenue, Coolock. He is described as being 183cm (6ft), of stocky build with short brown hair and blue eyes. When last seen, he was wearing grey tracksuit bottoms and a blue windbreaker-type jacket with a hood.

Mr Keegan is described as being 178 cm (5ft 10in), of medium build with short brown hair and brown eyes.

Last night at a press briefing at Ballymun Garda station, gardaí renewed their appeal for the public’s assistance.

Garda Supt David Taylor of the Garda Press Office said the search was “a multidistrict, multiregion investigation that is focused and driven on information coming in from the public”.

“We’re asking people to focus on the car, if they saw it and to help us with any sightings no matter how insignificant.

“Somebody, somewhere parked this car and we’d like to know who did, when they did it and if they could come forward to aid us with the investigation,” he said.

Anyone with information can ring Ballymun Garda station, 01-6664400, the Garda confidential line, 1800-666111, or any Garda station.