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Friday 29 August 2014

Mystery deepens as missing men's car was parked outside hotel for two days

Ken Foy

Published 07/05/2014 | 10:15

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Eoin O'Connor (L) and Anthony Keegan
Eoin O'Connor (L) and Anthony Keegan

A car used by two missing north Dublin men before their sinister disappearance was parked at a Cavan town hotel for almost two days before it was located at a car park near Mullingar, Co Westmeath, it has emerged.

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Sources have revealed that a woman has come forward and gave gardai a statement in which she said she saw the silver Ford Focus parked up in the hotel for two days before it was found at the car park at Lough Owel on the morning of April 25.

There has been no sign of Eoin O'Connor (32) and 33-year-old Anthony Keegan since the night of Tuesday, April 22, and there are major fears that they have been murdered by a violent drugs gang.

The development comes as sources have revealed that three members of this gang -- two Dubliners and a foreign national -- have fled their Co Cavan home because of fears that they will be targeted by criminal associates of the missing friends.

The foreign national is considered an "extremely dangerous" criminal who has been involved in the manufacture of pipe bombs as well as drugs trafficking in Co Cavan.

Gardai have been working on the theory that the missing men were in Cavan to collect a €15,000 drugs debt which was owed by this criminal's associates.

One line of enquiry is that the men were murdered by mistake after one of them was wrongly identified as the Coolock gang boss who was actually owed the money by the Cavan-based criminals.

The gang boss is one of the capital's most feared criminals and is currently facing very serous criminal charges.

Sources say that there has been tension between him and some pals of the missing men who have accused him of "setting them up to be murdered".

At the weekend, family and friends of Mr O'Connor and Mr Keegan distributed more than 1,000 leaflets across Co Cavan to members of the public as they desperately try to discover what has happened their loved ones.

Gardai have been trying to locate the men after they searched a number of properties on the shores of Lough Sheelin last Wednesday but there still has been no trace of them.

The Herald previously revealed that one of the suspects in the case handed himself into gardai and denied any involvement in their suspected murders.

The man who the two pals were intending to visit when they disappeared has given a statement to gardai claiming that the duo had travelled north and that he had bought €350 worth of cannabis herb from them.

While detectives are highly dubious of these claims, they don't believe the Dublin man is a potential killer but the middle-aged convicted criminal is "central to this entire situation" and his associates are being "actively investigated".

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