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Wednesday 24 September 2014

Missing men came to my home, says suspected drug dealer

Families hold vigil as gardai search lakeside area where car was found

Paul Williams and Caroline Crawford

Published 26/04/2014 | 02:30

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The car park at Lough Owel which was sealed after the discovery of the grey Ford Focus. Inset: Eoin O'Connor and Anthony Keegan. Picture: James Flynn
Inset Eoin O'Connor (left) and Anthony Keegan (right)

A SUSPECTED drug dealer confirmed he was visited by two men before they vanished on Tuesday night.

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The man told gardai that Eoin O'Connor (32) and Anthony Keegan (33) met him at his home in Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan, but denied that they were collecting a drug debt.

It is understood gardai visited the man, who is originally from Finglas in Dublin, after Mr O'Connor's relatives gave them his name when the men were reported missing.

This man told detectives that the men left his home on their own and denied he was involved in an abduction or caused them any harm.

The two men from Coolock, north Dublin, have not been seen since they travelled to Ballyjamesduff on Tuesday night.

Shortly after they were reported missing on Wednesday evening gardai received an anonymous call, claiming that their bodies had been dumped in a field near Ballyjamesduff.

The 999 caller specifically identified Mr O'Connor as one of the men.

A major search operation was launched from Ballymun station and shifted to Co Westmeath for a time yesterday morning after the Ford Focus the men were driving was found in a car park overlooking Lough Owel near Mullingar.

The car was being forensically examined along with a mobile phone and a bank card which were found inside.

Gardai divers searched the lough and crime scene investigators combed the shore but the search was later called off.

The families of the two missing men gathered by the lake at 11am yesterday where they could only look on as the car sat alone. Last night a garda helicopter was searching an area of the Farren Connell Estate near Mount Nugent in Co Cavan, 10km from Ballyjamesduff.

The area has extensive woodland and borders the shores of Lough Sheelin.

GANGLAND

Mr O'Connor's family told detectives he appeared to be concerned for his safety before he travelled to Co Cavan.

He told a relation who they planned to visit in Ballyjamesduff and instructed him to go to the gardai with the man's name if they didn't return on Tuesday night.

That man voluntarily went to the gardai and gave a statement.

Sources have revealed that detectives have been receiving "very valuable" assistance from friends and associates of the two men, including a number of well-known criminals.

Gardai have been told the men wanted to collect a €15,000 drug debt and it is feared they have been the victims of a gangland execution.

Mr O'Connor is described as being 6ft tall and of stocky build with short brown hair and blue eyes. Mr Keegan is 5ft 10in and of medium build with short brown hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information has been asked to contact Ballymun garda station on 01 666 4400, the garda confidential telephone line on 1800 666 111 or any garda station.

Irish Independent

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