28 Sept 2022

Brother of missing Laois woman Imelda Keenan speaks of family's heartbreak

Brother of missing Laois woman Imelda Keenan speaks of family's heartbreak

Mountmellick woman Imelda Keenan who went missing from Waterford 25 years ago.

Young Mountmellick woman Imelda Keenan is now almost 25 years missing.

She disappeared aged 22 from her Waterford flat 25 years ago this Christmas, and her family’s pain and search to find her goes on.

Last Wednesday at the National Missing Persons Day ceremony in Kings Inns Dublin, her eldest brother Gerry described how her disappearance has devastated the family.

“It has taken its toll on the family, of course, we have buried three people in the last nine years. They went to their graves with broken hearts. A great cloud hangs over us,” he said.

Imelda’s brother Donal was the most recent, passing away this year without knowing where his sister was. Donal had spent years campaigning for information.

“This Christmas we didn’t think we would be praying for Donal too. It’s been a very tough year,” Gerry told the Leinster Express.

He said the family don’t want revenge, just closure.

“I still believe there are some people in Waterford who are holding back information, I plead with them to come forward. They might be afraid to come forward, but it’s not too late, just come talk to us. I don’t want to end up in my grave too without knowing.

"Even if were were told where she was buried, so we could identify Imelda and give her a good Christian burial, that’s all we are looking for,” he said.

The sixth Missing Persons Day ceremony was hosted by the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, his second year to do so.

“I found the ceremony to mark Missing Persons Day in 2017 extremely moving.  I was struck by the sincere and direct expressions of love and loss from the families who spoke. The brave, heartfelt communication was incredibly poignant and powerful. We need to be able to draw on this sadness to support you more effectively in seeking answers to the many questions you have.

Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris also attended, along with many other families of missing people.

On January 3 2019, Imelda's family will again gather on the anniversary of her disappearance, on the bridge in Waterford where she was last seen.

"We will hold a family vigil and pray for Imelda, that's all we can do. Anyone is welcome to join us," said Gerry.

Information on Imelda can be given to Waterford or Portlaoise Garda Stations.

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