The ‘liv­ing night­mare’ of the ‘North Cork tri­an­gle’

Al­most 30 years ago, three peo­ple van­ished. Two are still be­ing sought, writes Ni­cola Anderson

Irish Independent - - News -

IT BE­CAME known as the ‘North Cork Tri­an­gle’ be­cause the two cases had fol­lowed a re­mark­ably sim­i­lar pat­tern. Conor and Sheila Dwyer, a cou­ple in their early 60s who had fol­lowed a ‘clock­work rou­tine’, dis­ap­peared with­out a trace from their home at Chapel Hill near Fer­moy.

The last time they had been seen was on April 30, 1991.

Eleven months be­fore, Labour Party coun­cil­lor William Fen­nessy (53) had van­ished with­out a trace out­side Fer­moy, on March 30, 1990.

In both cases, the car had also dis­ap­peared. For the Dwyers, it was their white Toy­ota Cres­sida – a lux­ury, pow­er­ful sedan built on slim lines – while Mr Fen­nessy’s ve­hi­cle was a Dai­hatsu Cha­rade.

For years, the two cases were tied to­gether in the minds of the gar­daí and the pub­lic, twin mys­ter­ies. Re­tired garda Joe Watkins, in a sub­se­quent in­ter­view, said it had re­minded him of ‘Star Trek’ – “Beam me up, Scotty, some­thing like that,” he said.

But then came an ac­ci­den­tal break­through – when mem­bers of the Black­wa­ter Sub Aqua Search and Res­cue team stum­bled upon the wreck­age of a car on the bed of the River Black­wa­ter in 2013.

The dis­cov­ery had been made dur­ing a rou­tine dive.

The de­cay­ing ve­hi­cle was about 3.5m be­low the sur­face and buried in silt.

DNA test­ing on the re­mains in­side con­firmed they were those of William Fen­nessy.

This ended talk of a ‘North Cork Tri­an­gle’.

But the Dwyers re­main miss­ing – and this week, the gar­daí said trac­ing the car, which bore the reg­is­tra­tion 5797 ZT, is the key to solv­ing this mys­te­ri­ous case.

News­pa­per archives re­veal how on March 3 1992, a year after their dis­ap­pear­ance, Garda divers searched the waters around Cobh in a bid to solve the rid­dle.

“They seem to have dis­ap­peared off the face of the earth,” an ar­ti­cle said.

It re­vealed that the pos­si­bil­ity of a sui­cide pact, on which some friends had spec­u­lated, had been in­ves­ti­gated, but no ev­i­dence had been pro­duced to sup­port such a the­ory.

And the search of the quays around Cobh had been “fruit­less”, the piece added.

Conor Dwyer (62) was de­scribed as be­ing 5ft 8in in height, weigh­ing 11 stone and with dark hair parted to the right.

When last seen, he was wear­ing dark rimmed glasses, a checked sports jacket and a light navy trench coat.

Press re­ports de­scribed him as a “flam­boy­ant char­ac­ter” who had worked for a num­ber

‘It’s very, very bizarre. There are no an­swers’

of years as a chauf­feur for Fritz Wolff, a Ger­man mil­lion­aire who hol­i­dayed at nearby Castle­lyons House.

Sheila (60) was 5ft 4in with fair hair, and was wear­ing a light woollen coat and white leather walk­ing shoes when she dis­ap­peared.

Mrs Dwyer had a tele­phone con­ver­sa­tion with her two sis­ters, Maisie and Nel­lie, on May 1, 1991, and that was the last time there was any con­tact.

The evening be­fore, the cou­ple had been at a fu­neral and had greeted a neigh­bour’s child on the steps of the church.

They were not re­ported miss­ing un­til three weeks later.

The gar­daí went to the Dwyer’s neat ter­raced house and found the prop­erty se­cure, with all personal items such as clothes, pass­ports and money still in the house.

A bis­cuit tin con­tain­ing a thou­sand pounds was the only un­usual thing they dis­cov­ered.

In an RTE doc­u­men­tary some years ago, those few neigh­bours in Fer­moy who still remembered them re­called them as “nice peo­ple”.

“They were al­most like roy­alty, with a big posh car. She used to wave like the queen,” one woman said.

Their son, Conor, who lives in the UK, as does their other son, told RTÉ that his child­hood had been a happy one.

“Good neigh­bours, good friends, well re­spected nor­mal peo­ple,” he said, adding that it was strange that while they were nor­mal peo­ple, there had def­i­nitely been some­thing ab­nor­mal about what had hap­pened to them.

“I can’t see any rhyme nor rea­son for the en­tire sit­u­a­tion,” he said.

“They were lo­cal, friendly, re­spected peo­ple.

“There are lots of ques­tions, unan­swered ques­tions that no­body seems to know the an­swers to.

“Un­for­tu­nately the only an­swer I had was ‘I don’t know’,” he said.

At that time, he said, he of­ten won­dered about what was go­ing through his par­ents’ minds and what hap­pened.

“It’s very, very bizarre. In­ex­pli­ca­ble. There’s no an­swers,” he said.

“It’s a night­mare, a liv­ing night­mare.”

PHOTO: STEVE HUMPHREYS

Church go­ers: St Patrick’s Church in Fer­moy, Co Cork, where the cou­ple were last seen

Mys­tery: Conor and Sheila Dwyer, who went miss­ing in Cork in 1991 years ago

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