Sunday 25 September 2016

Concern grows for missing Sinn Féin councillor Cunningham

Published 31/03/2016 | 02:30

Stephen Cunningham
Stephen Cunningham

There is mounting concern for one of the nation's youngest elected representatives who has been missing for almost two weeks.

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Cork Sinn Féin councillor Stephen Cunningham has not been seen since he left friends during the early hours of March 18 last.

He was last seen in the South Mall area of the city centre at around 1pm.

The popular 23-year-old UCC Government student had been out enjoying the St Patrick's day celebrations.

Investigators are combing through CCTV footage and have confirmed that they will interview those who were in his company prior to his disappearance.

Friends and volunteers are expected to meet at Sinn Féin's offices on Barracks Street in the city at 10am today to coordinate searches for the missing politician.

Mr Cunningham topped the poll during the 2014 local elections and now represents the city's north east ward.

From Silversprings Court in Tivoli, he was a first-time election candidate in 2014.

He said he pursued a career in politics when he saw social injustice and economic inequality affecting all generations, but young people in particular.

He joined Sinn Féin some six years before he ran for election for the first time in 2014.

After topping the poll, he dismissed commentators who criticised his youth and inexperience.

"I will bring youth, enthusiasm and a new perspective to politics," he said following his election.

"I'm bringing to the table just as much as any other candidate."

Mr Cunningham has been described as being a confident and bright political performer who made a quick impression on Cork City Council.

He was very involved in the recent general election campaign, canvassing for Sinn Féin party colleague TD Jonathan O'Brien.

In a post on his Facebook page the TD called on the public to assist in finding his friend.

"Our friend and comrade cllr. Stephen Cunningham 'Cunny' is missing.

"Can people please share this with everyone, please."

Mr Cunningham's friends have now launched a major social media campaign to raise awareness that he is missing.

He is described as being 6 foot in height with brown hair.

Anyone who may have seen Stephen on or after 1.00am on March 18 or anyone who may have information as to Stephen's whereabouts is asked to contact to gardaí at Mayfield on (021) 455 8510 or Angelsea Street gardaí on (021) 452 2000.

Gardaí in Cork are expected to issue an official missing person's appeal today after Mr Cunningham's family formally reported him as missing.

Irish Independent

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