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Saturday 24 February 2018

I have to live with knowing who killed Jo Jo – sister

Jo Jo Dollard
Jo Jo Dollard

David Raleigh

THE sister of missing woman Jo Jo Dollard, believed to have been murdered 17 years ago, has called for a national missing persons' investigative unit to be set up.

Mary Phelan expressed her extreme unhappiness at the garda investigation into her younger sister's disappearance.

The 63-year old, from Callan, Co Kilkenny, was due to give a keynote speech at a missing persons' ceremony yesterday in Knockfierna, Co Limerick, but was unable to attend due to ill-health.

Speaking over the phone, she said she suffers the daily torture of knowing who kidnapped, raped, and murdered her younger sister, who was 21 when she disappeared.

However, nobody has ever been charged and Jo Jo's body has never been found.


"I received an anonymous letter from his ex-girlfriend afterwards who told me he was capable of doing anything. I left the letter into the garda station." Ms Phelan added that she believed he was still living in Ireland.

She said the garda investigation was "a complete mess".

"They never checked out anything. They know who it is, but they're not going to do anything about it now," she added.

Jo Jo Dollard was last seen in Moone, Co Kildare, on November 9, 1995.

Ms Phelan said gardai told her at the time that they had "specific information" about the chief suspect.

Her only brother, Tom, also died young. The strain of his sister's case too much to bear.

"I had a brother, but he died of a sudden heart attack 12 years ago. He was only 55. I have two sisters left, Nora and Kathleen. I have a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.

"They make up for a lot of what has gone wrong," she said.

Ms Phelan was one of the driving forces behind Operation Trace, set up by former Garda Commissioner Pat Byrne in 1998 to investigate the cases of six young women who disappeared from the Leinster area over a five-year period.

"When they set Operation Trace up, three gardai came to my house to interview me. Then they told me they had not received any training in missing persons' cases."

Yesterday, she called for a dedicated missing persons' unit to be set up, and worked by specially trained investigators, to help grieving families find their loved ones.

Bob Shanahan, whose son Aengus, better known as 'Gussie', vanished in February 2000 from Limerick, addressed those who gathered at yesterday's ceremony in Knockfierna. He backed Ms Phelan's call, adding: "You have the search and rescue people around the country, but you need an experienced person to organise it nationally."

Irish Independent

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