Sunday 4 December 2016

'Philip Cairns Snr kept his dignity, but died not knowing why his son disappeared'

Published 10/07/2014 | 12:22

Alice and Philip Cairns, parents of the boy who disappeared
Alice and Philip Cairns, parents of the boy who disappeared
Philip Cairns
Alice and Philip Cairns, parents of Philip Cairns who went missing in 1986 at the launch of the new website ie.Missingkids.com at Garda Headquarters in Phoenix Park (14/09/04)
Gardai searching the River Dodder area in Rathfarnham following the disappearence of 13 year old schoolboy Philip Cairns
The schoolbag belonging to 13 year old schoolboy Philip Cairns in a laneway near his home on Ballyroan Road, Rathfarnham

October 23 1986. It's a date that will be forever etched on my memory, the day that Dublin schoolboy Philip Cairns disappeared, a mystery which continues to baffle gardai almost three decades later.

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I covered the case for The Herald and the search ran from days into weeks, into months, and sadly into years.

Indeed years later, I often called to the Cairns' family home on Ballyroan Road to visit Philip's mum, Alice, and many's the cups of tea she made for me in the family kitchen as we talked - usually at anniversary time - about the search for the missing schoolboy with the cherubic, innocent face.

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