Philip Cairns case: Garda to interview ex-Radio Dublin staff
Woman stated recently she witnessed Eamon Cooke kill missing boy at station premises
Convicted child molester Eamon Cooke outside a Radio Dublin studio in Clondalkin, Dublin, in 2001. Gardaí will interview ex-employees of Radio Dublin, a pirate station owned by Cooke (above), as part of their investigation into the disappearance of Philip Cairns in 1986. File photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins
Gardaí will interview former employees of Radio Dublin, the pirate station owned by convicted child molester Eamon Cooke, as part of their investigation into the disappearance of Philip Cairns in 1986.
They are also seeking to interview people known to Cooke at the time in an effort to establish his movements on Thursday, October 23rd, 1986, the day Philip went missing.
Philip (13) was last seen as he left his home on Ballyroan Road in Rathfarnham at about 1.30pm, as he began his journey on foot back to Coláiste Eanna after lunch.
Despite extensive searches and numerous appeals for information, no trace of him was found apart from a canvas schoolbag found six days later in a laneway near his home. It was dry despite rain earlier that day, indicating it had been dumped there.
Last month, following an appeal made in 2011, a woman now in her late 30s came forward and made a statement that she had witnessed Cooke kill Philip at the Radio Dublin premises and that he had made her dump his schoolbag days later. She was aged nine at the time.
On foot of this, gardaí visited Cooke at Raheny hospice and interviewed him before his death on June 4th last.
Aspects of the woman’s statement were corroborated, “which opened new lines of inquiry”.
“These lines of inquiry include interviewing people and cross-referencing DNA profiles with those on items recovered as part of this investigation.”
Among those to be interviewed will be people who worked at Radio Dublin in 1986. The spokesman said DNA tests of the schoolbag “have not yielded positive results”, though he stressed the tests “could take weeks”.
Gardaí will also seek to establish Cooke’s movements on the afternoon of October 23rd, 1986. It is hoped former associates of Cooke’s may recall his movements, given he and four others had been before Dublin Circuit Court the day before.
He and the others, all in their 30s and 40s at the time, received suspended sentences of between one and four years for their part in a firebomb attack on the home of another man.
Courting former girlfriend
The court heard Cooke had been “displeased” with John Paul O’Toole, as he had been “courting” his former girlfriend. He and the others firebombed O’Toole’s home on the South Circular Road to intimidate him, the court was told.
A former garda involved in the Philip Cairns investigation said on Monday, however, that the allegations of Cooke’s involvement in the boy’s disappearance did not “add up”.
Retired detective inspector Gerry O’Carroll, said: “I have serious questions. I don’t for one instance feel all the dots have been joined or that we have yet reached a stage of conclusivity that Eamon Cooke took little Philip... Part of this entire story lacks credibility.
“I can’t figure out how this little witness of nine years of age, who was an abused child herself, could have witnessed what went on in the studio without someone seeing.
“[Radio Dublin] was an extraordinary busy place. How did Philip materialise from Ballyroan Road into the studio in Inchicore?”