A FAMILY has been left "fearing the worst" after their teenage son disappeared without trace.
Tullamore student Mark Casey (19) was last seen at St John's Cathedral in Limerick city in the early hours of March 7 after going out for a friend's birthday.
And his uncle Pius Casey said worried relatives have been combing the streets of the city, desperate to piece together his whereabouts.
He said: "All the family are extremely worried. They're fearing the worst at this stage. We are searching ourselves now, looking on the streets and around the campus of the university and just trying to put together his last movements. It's not looking good."
He explained how Mark was in Limerick for a friend's birthday party when he disappeared.
His mobile phone was later found on the street near the nightclub and handed to gardai.
"He went to Angel Lane nightclub on Robert Street and for some reason, he left the club on his own at around 1.30am. We have him on CCTV at the cathedral and that's the last sighting we have of him.
"His grandfather only died at the age of 102 two weeks ago so you can imagine how this is all affecting his mother. She's up the walls."
Mr Casey said it was completely out of character for Mark, a student in NUIG, to disappear without trace and not contact family or friends.
Mark's two older brothers James and Derek, along with his sister Shirley and parents John and Catherine, have been spending the past few days trawling Limerick city hoping to locate him.
Mark's friends have also travelled up from Galway and Offaly to join in the search amid increasing concern for him.
Mr Casey said: "The support we've been getting has been wonderful.
"People have been bringing us in for cups of tea and doing everything they can to help."
He said that Mark was "the nicest chap in the world" and a keen sportsman. He plays soccer with Tullamore as well as being a member of the local GAA club.
He is described as being 5ft 7in tall, of normal complexion with brown hair and hazel eyes.
When last seen he was wearing grey chino trousers and a dark coloured t-shirt with a grey collar.
Gardai say that while searches were conducted around the UL campus, the focus had now returned to the city centre and the Cornmarket area in particular.
Anyone with information on Mark's whereabouts is asked to contact Henry Street Garda Station on 061 212400.