Sunday 18 March 2018

Fears for missing men grows after their car is found abandoned

Anthony Keegan
Eoin O'Connor

Paul Williams

The car which was used by two men who have since gone missing has been found by gardai.

It's believed the car - a Ford Focus - was found close to Mullingar, Co Westmeath, earlier today.

The search for both men - Eoin O'Connor (32) and Athony Keegan (33) - is continuing and has been widened.

The discovery comes as the family of one of two men at the centre of a massive missing persons hunt in Co Cavan admit they "fear the worst".

Gardai say the disappearance may be linked to the drug trade and they are "seriously concerned" for their safety

Father-of-two Eoin O'Connor (32) and Anthony Keegan (33), both originally from the Kilbarron estated in Coolock in north Dublin, were last seen alive on Tuesday when they set off to collect money from a man living in Ballyjamesduff in Co Cavan.

More than 24 hours later, both men were separately reported missing by their families at garda stations in Dublin.

The Irish Independent can also reveal that gardai received an anonymous call on Wednesday night claiming that two male bodies had been dumped in a field in Cavan.

It is understood that the caller referred specifically to Eoin O'Connor as one of the men.

Ruairi O'Connor, a brother of Eoin O'Connor, said his family are fearing the worst and did not know why the men may have travelled to Cavan.

"We are very worried, we are fearing the worst. He wouldn't be away from home for long," said Mr O'Connor, adding he was last seen driving his mother's 2004 silver-coloured Ford Focus.

"He does a bit of couriering. He drives a van."

The O'Connor family reported him missing to the gardai in Santry, while Mr Keegan lives in the north inner city and was reported missing at Mountjoy garda station.

A major investigation was launched from Santry garda

station yesterday, as gardai began searching in the Virginia and Ballyjamesduff areas, with the search expected to start again this morning.

Gardai are "seriously concerned" for their safety.

A group of men from north Dublin had travelled to Cavan in search of the two men in the hours before gardai received a missing persons report.

It is understood that gardai first suspected something was wrong when they stopped the group travelling together in the Cavan area.

Keegan was jailed for three years in 2007 for an armed robbery at a building society in Greystones, Co Wicklow, that was carried out in April 2002.

He was caught on CCTV holding up the EBS branch, where he threatened staff and then made off with a sum between €1,200 and €1,300.

After being caught, he told gardai that he was sorry for what he had done, saying: "It was the drugs that had me like that."

Mr O'Connor urged: "We just want to make an appeal for anyone who would know where he is or his whereabouts to make contact with us or Santry garda station.

"He just took off on Tuesday. We are not too sure and are just trying to put pieces together, we are not really too sure.

"Anthony is his friend. He was with him," said Ruairi O'Connor.

It also emerged that Eoin O'Connor had raised concerns about his personal safety prior to travelling, as he told a relative to go to the gardai if he did not return.

Eoin O'Connor, the son of Jean and Noel O'Connor, is a father of two young girls aged 10 and three and he has a girlfriend.

"My mother is very worried – she is up the wall. He is a complete family man.

"It is out of character for him to be away so long," said Ruairi O'Connor.

No trace has been found so far of the Ford Focus car – with a registration 04 D 46380 – and the men's phones are turned off.

Gardai called on anyone who had seen the men travelling in the car on Tuesday evening to contact them, with farmers in particular being urged to search their outhouses and land for any sign of the men.

Eoin O'Connor is described as being 6ft tall, stocky build, with brown hair and he was wearing grey tracksuit bottoms and a blue windbreaker jacket.

Mr Keegan is described as being 5ft10in, of medium build, with short brown hair and brown eyes.

Irish Independent

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