Wednesday 13 November 2019

Foul play not suspected after body of missing Dublin dad is found by anglers in Cavan lake

Sonia Whelan
Lough Ramor

Ken Foy

Gardai have ruled out foul play in the death of a Dublin father whose body was discovered in a lake by two Polish anglers at the weekend.

There had been no trace of Joseph Whelan for 15 days until the discovery of the 38-year-old's remains in Lough Ramor near Virginia, Co Cavan, on Saturday.

Toxicology tests have been carried out and gardai are awaiting the results, having previously learned that Mr Whelan had been on medication in the days before his disappearance.

Senior sources yesterday confirmed the cause of death was drowning.

"This is being treated as a tragic death and a file will be prepared for the coroner's office," said a senior source.

"This unfortunate man's body showed no apparent signs of a violent death - there is no evidence that he was shot or stabbed."

Mr Whelan's heartbroken pregnant wife Sonya spoke yesterday of her and her children's "devastation".

"I'm waiting for the gardai to contact me so I can identify the body, but I've heard nothing yet," she said.

The mother-of-three has criticised the garda investigation into her husband's disappearance and said she has made an official complaint to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) about how the missing person investigation was conducted.


Labour TD Joe Costello yesterday said: "The death of Mr Whelan is a terrible tragedy, especially in that he leaves a family of three young children and a wife who is six months pregnant.

"This grieving family have expressed disappointment that it took so long to find his body and that it was a visiting fisherman rather than any action on the part of the Irish authorities that brought closure to their search for Joe Whelan," Mr Costello added.

"The family must now be left to grieve, but the gardai should carefully review their missing persons search procedures for the future."

Mr Whelan had travelled to Cavan more than two weeks ago and was reported missing on April 4.

His car, a 02 blue Volkswagen Passat, was found parked in the Swiftbrook estate in Virginia, Co Cavan.

Gardai carried out searches in the area and recovered CCTV footage from Easter Monday, 72 hours after he disappeared.

Ms Whelan, who is expecting the couple's fourth child in August, had been heavily involved in the searches, including crawling through ditches, fields and even pigsties.

Privately-owned CCTV footage obtained by the Herald shows Mr Whelan wandering around the Swiftbrook estate shortly after 12.35am on April 4 - the last sighting of him alive.

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