A major excavation at an overgrown plot of land in Chapelizod is expected to get under way on Monday morning as the search for Trevor Deely, who disappeared after a night out in Dublin nearly 17 years ago, enters a new and critical phase.
The railings surrounding the three-acre site on the banks of the Liffey just outside the village which have been cordoned off by gardaí have been draped in black plastic sheeting, while CCTV cameras covering the perimeter have been installed as preparatory work for the intensive search continued on Sunday evening.
Local residents 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 a housing estate overlooking the site since the 1980s told The Irish Times.
The search for Mr Deely has zoned in on the wasteland after gardaí investigating his disappearance received intelligence suggesting he was murdered by a known criminal.
The investigating team is also treating as credible information claiming to know the exact spot where Mr Deely’s body is buried.
The criminal, and others close to him, was involved in the drugs trade and other serious crime. Mr Deely, who was 22 and working as an employee of Bank of Ireland when he vanished on his way home from an office party in the early hours of December 8th, 2000, was not known to the people gardaí suspect killed him and concealed his body.