Saturday 25 November 2017

Family’s delight as missing dad found safe in Spain

Ann Cooney with a poster of her husband Liam, who suffers from dementia and has gone missing in Benidorm
Ann Cooney with a poster of her husband Liam, who suffers from dementia and has gone missing in Benidorm

Jason O'Brien and reporters

MISSING Irishman Liam Cooney, who suffers from dementia, was found today at Alicante airport in Spain after disappearing from Benidorm in the early hours of Saturday.

The 64-year-old grandfather went missing just 100 yards from his hotel after a night out with his son and other friends. His delighted family reported today that he had been found safe and well after a major search operation.

Mr Cooney, from Cabra, Dublin, had no identification or medication with him when he was last seen by his son Liam jnr at 4am on Saturday morning after a night out.

The father and son were part of a group of 18 friends who travelled to the Costa del Sol for the weekend and other family members had planned to fly out to Spain this evening to help in the search.

They handed out flyers to departing passengers at Dublin airport yesterday.

"He was only diagnosed with dementia two years ago. He did go travelling last year and he was grand and the brother thought, 'we'll bring him this last time' as his condition was getting a bit more intense. He was just out for a few pints, and he just lost his way."

Mr Cooney and his son were returning to the Sol Pelicamos Ocas when the 64-year-old went missing.

The group had only arrived in Benidorm at 6pm the previous evening.

"We were only about 100 yards from the hotel and I had to use the toilet," his son said.

"I told him to wait where he was. 'Okay, yeah,' he said. Two minutes later I came back and he was gone.


"He's not a big man for walking though. I went straight back to the hotel and got one of the lads, and the two of us flew around the place.

"I don't know if he jumped into a taxi maybe, or got on a bus. I haven't got a clue."

The Spanish police are now involved in the search and a liaison officer has been assigned to the family by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

"The man is never in bad form. He wouldn't have a bad word to say about anyone. He's a jolly-go-lucky type of guy," his son said. "I took his passport in case someone might rob it so he has no identification.

"The last thing I thought was that something like this might happen. Otherwise I'd have written his name and address in his pocket, but you never think of these things until afterwards.

"We just came over for a few days for a holiday, but it's after turning out to be a nightmare."

Irish Independent

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