Deely search area difficult to access without local knowledge

Chapelizod residents shocked that search for Trevor Deely taking place on their doorsteps

The piece of land gardaí sealed off at the weekend as part of a search in relation to the disappearance of Trevor Deely was “not somewhere you would ever go if you didn’t know it was there”, according to one local resident.

Local residents near the waste ground in Chapelizod close to the banks of the river Liffey expressed shock that such a high-profile search was taking place on their doorsteps, in a place many of them would have played in as children.

“If they do find something it would be tragic to think we have been here all this time and the poor child was lying there and we didn’t see anything or notice anything,” one woman who has been living in the housing estate overlooking the site since the 1980s said.

She recalled a portion of the site once being given over to a playground connected to Stewarts Hospital many years ago but said nothing had been done with the land for many years.

By coincidence, she had done an art project while in college which focused on the “missing people of Ireland” including Trevor Deely. “I think that is just eerie,” she said. “I hope that they find something, for his family’s sake.”

She said no one in her family or anyone she had spoken to had ever “seen anything out of the ordinary and we have all been in that field so many times looking for missing cats and missing dogs and whatever”.

She said the piece of land was “not somewhere you would ever go if you didn’t know it was there. You can’t get into it unless you know how to get into it, if you know what I mean, so anyone who wanted to do anything would have to have known that piece of land well; they would have to have been very familiar with it. You couldn’t just randomly stroll in there.

“The thing that freaks me out,” she added, “is that if anyone was there back then, they would have had to cover a lot of the ground on foot. You can only drive a certain amount on foot before you get to barriers and then you have to walk.”

She extended her sympathy to the Deely family, whatever the outcome of the search.

‘Wild and overgrown’

Another man from the area was walking his dog around the perimeter and he paused at the gate. “It’s just wild and overgrown in there. You’d rarely see any one in there. It was different when I was a kid, we used to play in there but it has been just an overground wasteland for a long, long time now.”

Mr Deely vanished on his way home from an office Christmas party in the early hours of December 8th, 2000. The 22-year-old was an employee of Bank of Ireland and the last sighting of him was near Haddington Road, Dublin 2.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast