| 11.1°C Dublin

Gardai launch massive hunt for Paul's body

THE family of a Tallaght dad who disappeared last July and who is feared murdered are today hoping a garda search of a Clondalkin park could finally lead to the discovery of his body.

Paul Byrne (21) vanished after getting into a car outside his home on Kilmartin Green on Wednesday, July 15 last year.

His distraught partner, Martina, is due to give birth to their second child in the coming weeks.

This morning gardai sealed off all access points to the massive 300-acre park.

Anyone trying to enter the park to walk dogs, or as a short cut, was turned away.

Notices on the gates stated the park would remain closed until further notice.

Corkagh Park presents a massive challenge to gardai, with rough ground, ditches, banks, rivers and lakes all throwing up their own dificulties. This morning lakes in the park were frozen over.


Paul's heartbroken mother, Ashley, today told the Herald how she got a call yesterday to inform her that a search was to be mounted for her son based on new information. Within hours Corkagh Park, in Clondalkin, was closed by South Dublin County Council. The popular park is a large area of green land that stretches from the Naas Road to Clondalkin village. It is expected to remain closed for several days.

Sources also say the search will be concentrated on the park's lakes and ponds, with members of the garda sub-aqua unit expected to be brought in.

Other specialist search teams, will also be brought in to comb the park. The latest search is yet another harrowing ordeal for Paul's mother Ashley, who earlier this month waited anxiously as gardai attempted to establish the identity of remains found in the Dublin Mountains.

At the time of that discovery, gardai believed the remains were likely to be that of either Paul or another missing man, Ken Fetherston, who disappeared in Tallaght in September.

The skeletal remains were last week identified as belonging to Ken Fetherston and a post-mortem confirmed that he had been murdered.

"I got a call out of the blue yesterday to say there would be a search, I just hope that they find him, we want him back so we can bury him properly," Ashley said.

The sweep of Corkagh Park marks one of the first dedicated searches by gardai for Paul's body. His family and friends meet every Saturday to conduct their own searches and have vowed to continue until he is found.

The intelligence that led to the closure of the park also follows a statement made to the Herald by a group claiming to be the Real IRA, claiming it knows the gang that killed Byrne, and threatening "swift and resolute action" unless his body is returned to his family.