Philip Cairns case ‘could prompt victims to come forward’

Retired head of cold case unit says suspect Eamonn Cooke was ‘considered a weirdo’

Philip Cairns was last seen on the Ballyroan Road in Rathfarnham, Dublin on Thursday, October 23rd, 1986.

Philip Cairns was last seen on the Ballyroan Road in Rathfarnham, Dublin on Thursday, October 23rd, 1986.


The former head of the Garda Cold Case Unit says the recent developments in the Philip Cairns case could be the catalyst that prompts other victims to come forward.

Gardaí announced last week they may have made a significant breakthrough in the case of Philip Cairns, the 13-year old boy who went missing in Rathfarnham in Dublin nearly 30 years ago.

His disappearance on October 23rd, 1986, remains one of the highest profile missing persons cases in the country.

Retired Garda detective Alan Bailey told Newstalk Breakfast on Monday that people who had remained quiet for decades because of pain and fear might now come forward with information.

Gardaí believe that convicted paedophile Eamon Cooke could be responsible for the disappearance of Philip Cairns.

The development comes as a former victim of Cooke’s contacted gardaí in May following a public appeal for information.

Cooke, who died last week at the age of 79, is believed to have confirmed some aspects of the woman’s statement. However, he did not reveal where Philip’s remains are buried.

New lines of inquiry were opened by gardaí after Angela Copley from Ballyfermot in Dublin came forward with information about the missing boy.

Ms Copley, who confirmed she had received a phone call in May from a victim of paedophile Eamon Cooke, said she only came forward because she wanted his mother and his family to have closure almost 30 years after his disappearance.

Mr Bailey urged any victims to go to their nearest Garda station or contact any of the helplines or charities offering assistance for victims.

“People might not have come forward in the past because of fear or pressure. Loyalties will have changed with the passage of time,” he said.

He said he had many dealings with Cooke in the 1970s and described him as “a funny fish”.

“He was considered a weirdo. He had a police monitor in his car and would often turn up at crime scenes,” he said.