Missing Laois woman Imelda Keenan's family mark 25th anniversary

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Missing Laois woman Imelda Keenan's family mark 25th anniversary

The Keenan family gathered beside Imelda's plaque in Waterford city near where she was last seen in 1994.

The family of Imelda Keenan from Mountmellick gathered last Monday January 3 in Waterford to mark the 25th year of her disappearance.

Her brothers and sisters Gerry, Michael, Oliver, Mono, Lizzie and Bernadette, their children and grandchildren and friends lit candles and left flowers and teddies beside a plaque in her memory on the bridge at William Street in Waterford, near where Imelda was last seen.

Gerry who lives in Waterford has long campaigned for information.
“It's 25 years now, it has gone by in a flash but it's avery long time not to see your sister,” he said.

Recently Gerry was selected to speak at the National Missing Persons Day ceremony.

It was attended by 400 people including Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan, and the new Garda Commissioner Drew Harris.

“I went to school with Charlie, I shook hands with him and the commissioner,” he said.

“It was very hard to speak to 400 people. I had nothing written down for my speech because I would find it difficult to read aloud.

“I just spoke about how it felt for our family to have someone missing, how attending family support meetings has helped me because you get to know other people in the same boat, and finally to ask for more powers so the Gardaí can do full investigations into suspects.

“There is someone, maybe two or three people we believe in Waterford who are holding back vital information,” he said.

That day though difficult for him has helped to raise the national profile of Imelda’s unsolved case, with countless media interviews since for Gerry.

“We aren’t getting any younger, I’m 60 but I’ll keep campaigning. We are not looking for vengeance, we are looking for our sister. Even if we found her bones, we would like to bring them to the cemetery in Mountmellick and put her to bed with our mother and father,” he said.

Their parents Florence and Liz, and Imelda's brothers Ned and Donal have all passed on without knowing of Imelda’s whereabouts.
“To be honest I haven’t slept properly for 25 years,” said Gerry.

“I could see a girl in Waterford, I can remember Imelda, her build, her long brown hair, and to this day I am looking to see am I mistaken. She would be only 47. We never thought at this stage she would be still missing. When she went missing in 1994 we thought it would be an open and shut case,” he said.

“I’m the eldest now, with Donal gone. Sometimes it brings me down. What keeps me going is that I still believe there is a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel, that Imelda will be found some day,” he said.

Imelda went missing after leaving her flat in William Street which she shared with her boyfriend Mark Wall. The last positive sighting was of her crossing the road by the Tower Hotel on the corner of Lombard Street.

She is 5ft 4in, of slim build with brown hair and blue eyes. She was wearing a white jumper, leopardskin ski pants, blue denim jacket and black shoes. Despite extensive searches, she was not found.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Waterford Gardaí on 051 305 300.