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Irish family talk of five years of 'hurt and pain' in the hunt for Madeleine

A CLOSE friend of Madeleine McCann's grandmother, Eileen, today spoke of her "hurt and pain" over the past five years.

The McCann family has strong connections in Donegal, as Gerry's mother, Eileen, once lived there.

Joe Peoples runs Joe's Bar in the picturesque village of St Johnston in north-east Donegal, the pub that was owned by Eileen and her late husband, Johnny.

Mr Peoples today told the Herald about his experience of meeting Madeleine and her parents just one month before she vanished.

"They are a lovely family, Maddie was just a dote. We still live in hope that she is found safe and sound," he said.

"Eileen is a good friend and, I have to say, she is just heartbroken. The pain she has gone through, as they all have, is unimaginable. Our hearts go out to them."

Mr Peoples was speaking as Kate and Gerry McCann took part in a 10km race in Liverpool to raise awareness about Maddie.

Kate smiled and waved to the crowds lining the route while wearing a white vest with a photograph of a smiling Madeleine on the front and the words "Never Give Up".

It emerged in recent days that 27 detectives have uncovered 95 new leads, which the family desperately hope will produce results.


Speaking before she set off on her run at Sefton Park, Kate said: "We're really pleased to be taking part in the RunLiverpool 10K.

"It's something we've considered over previous years but given the poignant timing for our family, we've never quite felt strong enough.

"Thankfully, this year, with the involvement of the Metropolitan Police, things are looking brighter for Madeleine and the search, so we're ready to give it a go.

"Thank you to everyone in Liverpool again for your brilliant support over the past five years. It's appreciated so much by all of our family and friends."

Scotland Yard has announced a €2m review of Maddie's files, with 40,000 individual pieces of information being examined.