Mother makes emotional plea for return of missing daughter


THE HEARTBROKEN mother of missing Laois woman Aoife Phelan made an emotional plea for her daughter’s return at a candlelit vigil last night.

Up to 200 friends, family members and neighbours gathered at Colliers View, Portlaoise, where Ms Phelan was last seen almost exactly a week before.

“Aoife, we will be strong as a family and we will bring you home. We love you Aoife, so come home,” Betty Phelan said. She clutched rosary beads and led prayers during the vigil.

Ms Phelan’s brother Darragh said: “On behalf of my mother and father and brothers and sisters, we are just hoping tonight that something will jog someone’s memory somewhere.

“No matter how small, how trivial, just please, please contact the guards in Portlaoise.”

Ms Phelan’s family, who were carrying roses and pictures of her, thanked the community and gardaí for their support. They linked arms in a circle after the prayers were said for her safe return.

A live-in nanny, Ms Phelan (30), from Cashel, Ballyroan, Co Laois, has not been seen since she left a friend’s house in Colliers View, Portlaoise at 8.10pm on Thursday, October 25th.

Ms Phelan’s family, who say she is four months pregnant, described her disappearance as totally out of character.

They were alerted on Friday morning by Ms Phelan’s employers who became concerned when she did not return to her place of work at The Hermitage, Portlaoise, on Thursday night.

Gardaí in Portlaoise renewed their appeal on Wednesday for public assistance in tracing her whereabouts.

They are conducting door-to-door inquiries, checking closed-circuit television footage and examining telephone records.

Gardaí operated a checkpoint at Colliers Lane last night and appealed for information from motorists and pedestrians who frequented the area.

A Garda sub-aqua unit searched a lake in Kilminchy yesterday.

The lake is located a short distance from Colliers Lane where Ms Phelan was last seen.

According to gardaí, the search was not intelligence-led but carried out as part of routine investigations in order to exclude the area from inquiries.

Earlier searches in Mountmellick and Portlaoise have also failed to produce results for the gardaí and further inquiries are ongoing.