‘We are in lockdown for the past 27 years’ - missing woman’s brother

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Laois woman Imelda Keenan who went missing from Waterford on January 3 1994.

Laois woman Imelda Keenan who went missing from Waterford on January 3 1994.

The family of a missing Laois woman are asking people to remember her on her 50th birthday this month.

Imelda Keenan from Mountmellick was a student living in Waterford city when she left her flat and simply disappeared 27 years ago.

Her family have never stopped asking for answers and hoping for her return, and next Tuesday March 23 they will mark her 50th birthday by placing flowers on the bridge where she was last seen.

Her brother Gerry told the Leinster Express that hope is never gone.

“I can’t believe she would be 50, she was the youngest girl in our family. I imagine what she would be like as a mother. We have seen a lot of birthday parties, Christmasses and funerals without her. The pain never goes away, our family is in turmoil. We still believe there is light at the end, that there might be life there still. I can’t give up unless there is concrete evidence that Imelda is deceased.

“I feel for people who haven’t seen their family in 12 months because of Covid, but we are in lockdown for the past 27 years,” he said. 

Their parents Florence and Liz, and Imelda's brothers Ned and Donal have all passed on without knowing of Imelda’s whereabouts.

Gerry lives in Waterford and it was he who brought Imelda there to live. She was doing an Anco computer course and living with her boyfriend Mark Wall on William Street.

“She loved it in Waterdord, loved being so near the seaside. She was quiet and very shy. When Mark reported her missing, our world fell around us. Not an hour goes by in the day that I don’t think of her. Four or five times a week I stand on that bridge where we put a little plaque up for her.

“No one is accusing anyone, we are not looking for revenge. We are looking for closure, even if we found a shallow grave, we could take her bones and give her a christian burial beside our mother and father. Our own mother prayed for her all those years and went to her grave with a broken heart,” Gerry said.

The family cannot unite for Imelda’s birthday on the bridge this year because of Covid travel restrictions.

“Myself and my partner might put down some flowers, a candle and say a prayer and wish her a happy birthday. It is the only thing we can do. My heart is broken and it always will be. The nightmare continues on. It would be nice if the people of Mountmellick remembered her too on that day,” he said.

Imelda Keenan went missing on January 3 1994 after leaving her flat at 1.30pm to go to the post office. 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 and a thorough investigation, no positive sightings of Imelda were reported since.  
Her family continue to ask anyone with information to contact Waterford Gardaí on 051 305 300. Anonymous calls can be made to the Garda confidential line on 1800 666 111.