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Garda divers trawl lake for missing Aoife

GARDAI will carry out further searches today after spending hours trawling a lake close to where missing child care worker Aoife Phelan was last seen alive.

Aoife (30) has now been missing for a week and divers from the garda water unit spent a number of hours in water at the small man-made lake at Kilminchy, Portlaoise, yesterday afternoon.

Officers have found no evidence that Aoife, who told her family she was four months pregnant, was harmed by anyone.

Gardai and Aoife's family have described her disappearance as out of character and have expressed fears for her safety. Her family said she was working happily in the period up to last week and did not seem distressed or depressed.

However it is understood that Aoife may have been upset after a brief relationship she had with a local man ended.

This man is now abroad and is not suspected of any wrongdoing.

Aoife is described as being 5ft 7in and slim. She has long blonde or sandy hair and blue eyes.

Searches of lands around Portlaoise and in Mountmellick, where it is believed she may have been at some time last Thursday, have yielded nothing.

Aoife's mother Betty made an emotional plea, saying: "She's a very bubbly person and it is totally out of character for Aoife not to have been in contact with some of her family, so we are very, very concerned. Aoife, if you are out there somewhere, please contact us."