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'The birth of Faith was bittersweet, because my Paul is still missing'

The girlfriend of missing Dublin man Paul Byrne said that she told their unborn daughter every day how much her father loved her in the months leading up to her birth.

The 20-year-old went missing on July 15 last year, just weeks after his partner Martina McQuilligan became pregnant with their second child.

The pair, who already have a little girl Abbey (2), previously agreed that if Martina ever gave birth to a boy, they would name the child after Paul's father.

But Martina gave birth to a healthy little girl named Faith at 5.22am on Friday and she explained that it was her mother that picked the name -- to symbolise that of hope.

"My mother picked the name. She's been a huge support to me through all of this and I let her pick the name," she said.

However, one of the happiest days of Martina's life was tinged with sadness as the new mum is still reeling from Paul's disappearance.

Martina is pictured still wearing her hospital bracelet, carefully gripping onto her newborn daughter. And Faith looked peaceful in the arms of her mother, unaware of the sadness surrounding her.

"I feel more positive now after the last few days, it's good being out of the hospital. It was hard with Paul not being here but you just have to get on with it. The support from neighbours and friends has been great," she said on Saturday.

"My emotions are up and down every day. Yesterday was a bittersweet experience because Paul wasn't there."

And the young mum revealed that she hoped to move out of the family's Tallaght home, since Paul's mother and family had already moved after receiving a number of alleged threats.

"I have no plans to raise my daughters here. I don't know where we're going but I have two beautiful girls and I want to build a better future for them. This is no place to raise kids.

"What with Paul going missing, and people coming to my door and trying to kick it in, I have to get out of here. Hopefully that will be in the next month," she said.

Paul has been missing since last summer, when two men called to the couple's home and bundled him into a Mitsubishi Carisma.

Gardai are investigating claims that some of his friends had links to a drugs war, although Paul himself was not involved.

Martina and Paul's family believe he was murdered and his body dumped.A garda investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death is ongoing.

Paul's family are now living in hope that a search of Corkagh Park, which began on Wednesday, might yet lead to the discovery of his body. The search has yielded nothing so far.

cmcbride@herald.ie


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