FAM­ILY SLAM SEARCH FOR LOST DOC­TOR

Rel­a­tives not warned about Garda land dig

Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - NEWS - BY DAVID YOUNG

THE fam­i­lies of a doc­tor who went miss­ing a decade ago have ques­tioned a Garda de­ci­sion to un­der­take a ma­jor dig for her re­mains.

Deirdre Don­nelly O’fla­herty, a GP and mother of three, has not been seen since Jan­uary 11, 2009, when her car was found at Kin­nego beach in Co Done­gal.

In a shock devel­op­ment, gar­dai last week ex­ca­vated land 50 miles away in Mil­ford, Co Done­gal.

The dig con­cluded on Fri­day, with gar­dai an­nounc­ing that noth­ing linked to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the 46-year-old had been found.

The dig was or­dered af­ter gar­dai re­ceived as anony­mous tip-off. In 2012, a judge in Belfast for­mally de­clared Mrs Don­nelly O’fla­herty, who suf­fered from de­pres­sion, had drowned in the sea.

In a state­ment the Don­nelly and O’fla­herty fam­i­lies de­scribed the last week as an “or­deal” and have asked to meet the of­fi­cers in­volved in the op­er­a­tion in an at­tempt to get an­swers.

They said: “We wish to ex­press their heart­felt grat­i­tude for the many kind and thought­ful mes­sages of sup­port.

“The fam­i­lies are re­lieved only be­cause this or­deal is over although in our view, the out­come was not in doubt. No­ti­fi­ca­tion that gar­dai were go­ing to carry out a land search was en­tirely un­ex­pected. As far as we are aware there has not in fact been any on­go­ing search for Deirdre since at least that time.

“The fam­i­lies had only three days’ ad­vance no­tice of the ex­ca­va­tions and there­fore had lit­tle time to pre­pare for the con­se­quences of the very pub­lic, na­tional ex­po­sure of this story dur­ing the week.

“Gar­dai con­firmed to the fam­i­lies at that time that the de­ci­sion to con­duct the ex­ca­va­tion flowed from an anony­mous note handed in to a Garda sta­tion in County Mon­aghan in Au­gust 2017.

“The fam­i­lies have re­quested a meet­ing with the Garda in­ves­ti­ga­tion team to dis­cuss a num­ber of ques­tions re­lat­ing to the con­duct, con­clu­sions and con­se­quences of this in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

TRAUMA Garda dig in Done­gal last week

TRAGIC Deirdre Don­nelly O’fla­herty

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