Construction will begin shortly on a monument in memory of missing woman Fiona Pender.
The 25-year-old hairdresser and part-time model was seven months pregnant when she was last seen at her apartment in Tullamore, Co Offaly, in August of 1996.
Tullamore contractor Bracken Stoneworks was chosen to produce the monument, which was designed by Fiona's brother John with the assistance of one of his former college lecturers.
A local campaign group raised funds for the sculpture with the assistance of the local community and it's expected to be completed in three months time.
Niall Bracken of Bracken Stoneworks said: “it was an honour to be asked by the Pender family to price this monument for Fiona. And we have decided to do the job at cost price given the circumstances and the fact that a huge community effort is being made to ensure Fiona is never forgotten in Tullamore and the wider area.”
Local Cllr Brendan Killeavy (SF) was delighted a well establish local company was selected to build the monument.
“Brackens have been dealing with stone in Tullamore for a very long time and have a great reputation for their work. They must also be commended on doing this work at cost price,” he said.
According to Cllr Killeavy, “the monument will take a maximum of 12 weeks to construct and will then be put in place beside the canal on Convent View. It is then planned to have an official ceremony to unveil the monument and rename the canal walk way in the area after Fiona.”
He said it is a pity there was resistance to a campaign to name a bridge after Fiona but, “at least a positive is coming out of all this and a beautiful stretch of the Grand Canal will be named 'Fiona's Way' along with the monument being there in future too”.
“It is hoped that the monument will become a place for all to stop and reflect and remember Fiona,” Mr Killeavy said.