Philip Cairns: Gardaí appeal for information 35 years after boy went missing

Dublin teenager (13) vanished without trace on his way to school in 1986

‘There may be persons who were young at the time of Philip’s disappearance and not in a position to provide An Garda Síochána with information, who may now be able to come forward’

‘There may be persons who were young at the time of Philip’s disappearance and not in a position to provide An Garda Síochána with information, who may now be able to come forward’

 

Gardaí have renewed their appeal for information on a missing persons case involving a Dublin schoolboy who vanished without trace 35 years ago.

Thirteen-year-old Philip Cairns remains one of the most high-profile missing person cases in Ireland.

He disappeared on the afternoon of October 23rd, 1986, as he walked from his home to his school, Coláiste Éanna in Ballyroan.

His disappearance has baffled gardaí and his family. Despite a lengthy Garda investigation trying to track down his whereabouts, he has never been found. Nobody has ever been arrested in relation to the case and numerous media appeals have been made.

Philip had left his new school, Coláiste Éanna, at 12.50pm and made the short journey to his home at Ballyroan road, Rathfarnham.

Forty minutes later he picked up his bag and left the family home to return to school. He was never seen again.

Six days after he went missing, his schoolbag was located in a lane near his school. This laneway links Anne Devlin Road and Anne Devlin Drive. Some of Philip’s books were missing from the bag.

Philip was described as being 5ft2in in height, with short black hair. When last seen he was wearing his Coláiste Éanna school uniform, a grey jacket with black shoulder corners, grey school trousers, a grey shirt and his school pullover.

Gardaí believe there may be persons who have information in relation to his disappearance or his schoolbag and did not come forward.

“Following the passage of time and changing circumstances these people may now be in a position to assist us.

“There may be persons who were young at the time of Philip’s disappearance and not in a position to provide An Garda Síochána with information, who may now be able to come forward.”

Gardaí wish to reassure anyone who contacts them with information that they will be treated discreetly and sensitively.

“Even the smallest piece of information, which may seem insignificant, may assist the investigation.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Rathfarnham Garda station on 01 666 6500, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda station.

‘Life stood still’

Last year the Cairns family took part in an RTÉ Scannal documentary. The eldest sister of Philip appealed for information to unlock the truth of what happened to her 13-year-old brother.

Mary Cairns poignantly told of how life has stood still for the family since Philip went missing without trace. She said Philip was a kind and thoughtful child who got on with everyone.

She said that ultimately they would like to bring Philip home and give him a burial.

“I would feel that he is dead, and I mean your life moves forward in some aspects . . . but then there is just this part of our life that has stood still.

“We would really like to be able to bring Philip home, give him a burial . . . somewhere for my mother to go where she knows where he is.”

Meanwhile, a book about the case which has been written by Irish Sunday Mirror journalist Emma McMenamy, is available for pre-order in book stores nationwide and will be released on October 28th.

The Boy Who Never Came Home will give the inside story on the investigation from the detectives who worked on the case as well as their theories on what they believe may have happened to the missing teenager.