Sinn Fein councillor who had been missing for two weeks 'grateful for those who rallied around' him
A 23-year-old Sinn Fein councillor who has been missing for almost two weeks has thanked all who were concerned for his safety for their support.
Stephen Cunningham had not been seen since the early hours of March 18 after a night out in Cork's city centre.
The popular UCC student, and one of the nation's youngest elected representatives, had been celebrating St Patrick's Day with his friends.
Gardai had launched an investigation into his disappearance and were combing CCTV footage of the South Mall area where he was last seen.
His friends and family launched a large scale social media campaign in an effort to locate the young man with the help of the public.
However, Mr Cunningham - who represents Cork city's north east ward for the Sinn Fein party - released a statement today to the media.
"I would like to thank my family, friends, colleagues, and the wider public, for their expressions of support and concern," read the statement.
"Over the last number of weeks, I have found myself feeling enormous pressure. It hasn't been easy.
"I am grateful for all those who have rallied around me.
"I am now spending time with my family. I need some space and I would sincerely appreciate that my need for privacy be respected.
"Again, my heartfelt thanks to everyone."