Wednesday 17 October 2018

Body exhumed in Wales turns out to be Irish dad-of-four who has been missing since 1985

Brendan Dowley disappeared in October 1985.
Brendan Dowley disappeared in October 1985. Newsdesk Newsdesk

DNA results have confirmed that a body exhumed in Wales is that of Irishman Brendan Dowley, who has been missing for the past 33 years.

The father-of-four was last seen boarding a bus in Kilkenny on October 17, 1985 for onward travel by ferry to Britain.

A body washed up on Rhosneigr beach in Wales three weeks later and has gone unidentified until his body was dug up at Menai Bridge Cemetery, close to Holyhead in north Wales in June and DNA tests were conducted.

Forensic science was limited at the time of Mr Dowley's disappearance meaning that it has taken over three decades for the mystery to be finally solved.

Over 600 unidentified bodies lie in British cemeteries and 114 of these were recovered from along the western seaboard, which indicates some may be those of Irish people who drowned and were swept across the Irish Sea.

Speaking last year, Brendan's son Alan, a retired garda, called on people to not give up hope in their search for answers.

He told RTE's Prime Time: “I gave my DNA recently to Sergeant Richie Lynch in the Garda Missing Persons Bureau and I’m now waiting to see when the body in Wales might be exhumed for a DNA comparison to be carried out.

“I would encourage any other family of a missing person to give their DNA if they haven’t done so yet. Each of these unidentified bodies is someone’s loved one”.

He and his siblings provided the DNA samples that have led to this discovery.

Alan Dowley speaks to Prime Time about the case of his missing father Brendan (inset). Picture: RTE

Anyone wishing to contact the Garda Missing Persons Bureau can do so at

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