Car found off Cork coast confirmed to be that of missing man Barry Coughlan

Identification of skeletal remains due after discovery at Crosshaven

Gardaí found skeletal remains in a Toyota Corolla hatchback which was found submerged in water off Hugh Coveney pier in Crosshaven, Co Cork on Wednesday.

The car has been confirmed to be that of 23-year-old fisherman Barry Coughlan who disappeared in May of 2004.

The remains were found during a technical examination of the car. They were transferred to Cork City morgue, where an examination will be carried out.

It is hoped that the identity of the person will be established following the examination and DNA analysis by Forensic Science Ireland. The identification process could take several weeks.


Garda divers spent a number of hours freeing the car from mud and silt on the seabed on Thursday night.

Members of the Coughlan family remained at the pier throughout the night.

They have made media appeals over the years and never gave up hope of seeing Barry again.

They were mystified by his disappearance, which they believed was completely out out character.

Coughlan had started a job as a fisherman and was working in Castletownbere in West Cork.

He came home to his native Crosshaven for the weekend and was due back to work the day after he disappeared.

Coughlan was last seen leaving the Moonduster pub in Crosshaven on May 1st, 2004.

The discovery of the car was made on Wednesday by volunteers from the Cork Missing Persons Search and Recovery Group using a newly purchased €10,000 Starfish 990S sonar.

Members went out on a training exercise in a Rib when the sonar picked up a mass in the water off Crosshaven pier.

The group’s divers went down and found a car buried underneath silt and mud. They notified gardaí of their discovery.

The car matched the make and model driven by Coughlan and a matching partial registration was obtained. Gardaí were notified and went to the scene. The Garda sub-aqua unit was subsequently deployed.

Chris O’Donoghue from Cork Missing Persons Search and Recovery Group said that gardaí carried out tremendous work.

“They were down at the site for hours moving silt and mud in order to enable the lifting of the car out of the water.

The lifting operation began around 10.30pm on Thursday and it took about half an hour for the car to break out of the water.

Nets had been placed underneath it to ensure if anything fell off it could be caught in the netting and a wheel did come away.

“There was a 90 tonne crane on the quayside and it took another 40 minutes to bring the car to shore and place it on a waiting flatbed truck.

It was then covered in plastic before being driven away for forensic examination.”