Sunday 17 November 2019

Gardaí rule out foul play after body of missing dad discovered in lake

Joseph Whelan
Joseph Whelan

Ken Foy

Gardaí have ruled out foul play in the case of a father whose body was discovered in a lake by two Polish fishermen at the weekend.

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

Toxicology tests have been carried out and the gardaí are awaiting these results, having previously obtained information that Mr Whelan was on medication in the days before his disappearance. Last night, senior sources confirmed that Mr Whelan's cause of death was drowning.

"This is being treated as a tragic death case and a file will be prepared for the coroner's office," said a senior source, adding there were no signs that Mr Whelan had met a violent death.

Speaking before the formal identification of her husband's body last night, Mr Whelan's pregnant wife Sonya said she and her children were devastated. She also slammed the garda investigation into her husband's disappearance and said she has made an official complaint to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission about how the missing person investigation was conducted.

Last night, Dublin Central Labour TD Joe Costello said: "The post-mortem on the body of the man found in the Ramor Lake in Co Cavan confirmed the remains to be those of Joe Whelan from Ashbourne, Co Meath, originally from Dublin's inner city.

"The death of Mr Whelan is a terrible tragedy, leaving a family of three young children and a wife who is six-months pregnant. Mr Whelan had travelled to Cavan over two weeks ago and has been missing since April 4.

"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.

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

Mr Whelan's car was found parked in the Swiftbrook estate in Virginia, Cavan.

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

Irish Independent

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