GARDAI have launched a murder investigation after a man was found in a disused slurry tank with a concrete slab placed over the top of it.
The dead man is believed to be Bobby Ryan (52), who was reported missing in Tipperary in June 2011, but this will not be confirmed until the remains have been fully examined.
The body was found at a farm in Fawnagown outside Tipperary town – the same property where the last reported sighting of Mr Ryan was made.
The remains were discovered yesterday by a man who, the Irish Independent understands, has leased some of the farmland from its owner, Mary Lowry.
Ms Lowry was the partner of Bobby Ryan. After leaving her home on June 3, 2011, he was never seen again. Deputy State Pathologist Dr Khalid Jabbar will carry out a post-mortem examination of the remains.
The results from Dr Jabbar's examination determined that the garda investigation was upgraded to a murder probe.
The scene at the farm on the Tipperary-Bansha road remained sealed off throughout yesterday.
The Irish Independent understands that the disused pit where the body was found is 10ft deep and there is a small amount of liquid in it.
A concrete slab was covering the top of the pit and the human remains discovered inside are understood to have been decomposed.
The tank is a short distance from the farmhouse.
Yesterday evening, a fire tender and a digger arrived at the farm to assist with the garda operation.
The farm was closed off while the family of Bobby Ryan watched from outside the main entrance.
The remains found in the tank were taken from the farm in a hearse shortly after 8pm.
Bobby Ryan, a grandfather from Cashel, left the farmhouse at 6.30am on the Friday of the June bank holiday weekend in 2011 to go to work at Killough Quarry near Thurles.
He failed to turn up for work and colleagues contacted his family.
His daughter, Michelle, found her father's Citroen van at nearby Bansha Woods, Co Tipperary, on the same day – a short distance from the Fawnagown farm.
Numerous searches have been carried out by hundreds of volunteers across Tipperary, including the farmland around where yesterday's discovery was made, over the past 22 months but to no avail.
Missing posters with Mr Ryan's photograph are still on ESB poles across Tipperary and along the main road where the garda investigation is based.
His brother, John Ryan, told the Irish Independent that the family was informed of developments yesterday afternoon.
"He was found out the back (of the farm) but we don't know much more than that. The forensic officers are working away there now," Mr Ryan said.
"The guards have to keep it tightlipped so that is as much as I know. At least it will provide some bit of closure to us," Mr Ryan added.
Michelle Ryan – Bobby's only daughter – travelled from Cork to the scene.
She said she is hopeful that her family will get answers and justice for her father.
"My shoulders feel lighter now than they did when I woke up this morning.
"In a way, it is a relief because hopefully from today, we won't have to wake up in the morning and wonder where is our father and who done what to him," she said.
"Hopefully from today on, we will get the answers and justice that our father deserves.
"The level of support that we have received for the last two years – myself, my brother and the rest of our family – we cannot thank people enough.
"From the get-go, people have swarmed to help us. No matter what we do, we will never be able to thank them enough."