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25/10/2021

WATCH: Gardai speak from Deirdre Jacob search site after 'suspicious activity'

Gardaí say suspicious activity was noticed in the area the evening Deirdre Jacob disappeared

Senior gardaí have addressed the media at a search site identified in relation to the disappearance of Newbridge woman Deirdre Jacob in 1998.

Inspector John Fitzgerald from Kildare Town Garda Station spoke to journalists near the site at Taggartstown in rural Co Kildare, close to the Wicklow border.

A search began this morning in relation to the missing Kildare woman and possibly other women who went missing in the Leinster area in the 1990s. 

Inspector Fitzgerald indicated that the search and dig would take three weeks and that the operation comes on foot of 'credible information' which emerged during a review of previous evidence connected with Deirdre's disappearance. He said upon review this information "was more relevant than maybe initially thought."

It's understood suspicious activity was witnessed in the area around the time of Deirdre Jacob's disappearance in 1998.  Her case was upgraded to a murder investigation three years ago.

When asked when in relation to Ms Jacob's disappearance the suspicious activity was noticed at this wooded spot, Inspector Fitzerald said, "we believe the evening of [her disappearance]."

Speaking about the information and this new search, Inspector Fitzgerald said, "any development is significant and it is a big step for us to dig this ground and have it searched but we do need to manage expectations."

He added that the search would be "methodical."

He explained that the search would begin with a clearing of the ground and that an assessment would then be made on whether any site "presents as being suspicious or worthy of further excavation."

He added: "If evidence is gathered here it will be assessed and we'll deal with the senior investigating officer and we'll take it from there."

Asked if they are specifically looking for human remains, he said: "We are looking for any evidence that's here."

He also thanked the public for the "significant assistance" given over the 23 years since Deirdre Jacob's disappearance.

The search will involve divisional search teams, a forensic anthropologist, and the Garda technical bureau. The Defence Forces are expected to lend assistance if required.

VIDEO: AISHLING CONWAY

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