March marks 30 years since Philip Cairns disappeared
About 500 people mark 30 years to the day since disappearance on October 23rd, 1986
About 500 people have turned up for a march in Rathfarnham to mark 30 years to the day since the disappearance of Philip Cairns - on October 23rd, 1986. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
Philip Cairns’s schoolbag was found a week after he went missing in this alleyway, linking Anne Devlin Road to Anne Devlin Drive in Ballyroan. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
People march to raise awareness of the 30th anniversary of the disappearance of Philip Cairns 30 years ago in Rathfarnham, Dublin. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
Floral tributes mark the spot at which the schoolbag of Philip Cairns was found a week after his disappearance. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
Philip Cairns as he looked around the time of his disappearance exactly 30 years ago.
About 500 people turned up for a march in Rathfarnham, Dublin, this afternoon to mark 30 years to the day since the disappearance of Philip Cairns - on October 23rd, 1986.
The group marched from Marian Road to the alleyway where the 13-year-old’s schoolbag was found a week after he had gone missing, and from there to Rathfarnham Garda station.
A petition was signed by many who turned up calling on gardaí to investigate information which is said to have come to light in recent times about the case.
Many of those participating in the march said they had been reading postings on Facebook regarding the case put up by broadcaster Gareth O’Callaghan.
Michael Fenning said he was there because the boy’s disappearance had cropped up in his mind repeatedly over the years. He would like to see the specific matters raised on Mr O’Callaghan’s Facebook page investigated by the Garda.
Clive Lynch, from Crumlin, also said he had been following it on Facebook. “I was 15 at the time. I can remember the whole thing. I think there is a cover-up.”
Strikes a chord
He said the case strikes a chord with people because so many families have been affected by abuse. “My late father was in Artane [industrial school].”
Mark Sheils, who like Philip went to Coláiste Eanna, said the disappearance of the 13-year-old “stole the innocence of an entire community”. Walking around the area, the mystery of the boy’s fate would come to mind. “People talk about it all the time,” he said.
Patrick Fagan, from Tallaght, said he would like to see the garden of a nearby house that has been linked to Philip’s disappearance dug up, as has been suggested. He did not credit reports that late DJ and convicted paedophile Eamon Cooke might have murdered Philip.
Damien Hetherington, from Lucan, grew up in Rathfarnham and remembered “how unbelievable it was that a young man like that would just disappear”.
He believes there was a paedophile ring operating in the area at the time, and named people, living and deceased, whom he said were part of the group.
A man who said he was raped by a member of the group, and his mother, also spoke of a paedophile network in the area at the time who they believe are probably linked to Philip’s disappearance.
Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy said he was there to show solidarity with the community. He said he believed the claims being made by Mr O’Callaghan were worthy of investigation.
Mr O’Callaghan put a new posting on his Facebook page on Saturday where he said that a member of the Cairns family “has conveyed a message indirectly to me that they neither condone nor support what I have been doing here over these past months.
“I am not surprised by the announcement to be honest after all these months of no contact, but I am stunned by the sentiments and words. But I also have to respect the sentiments of the family, which I reluctantly do.”