independent

Monday 14 October 2019

Kilmore man laid to rest 20 years after going missing

Pádraig Byrne

Nearly 20 years after he went missing, a small group of friends and family gathered at a freshly dug grave bearing the name of Patrick 'Packy' Gallagher in St Mary's Cemetery in Kilmore last week.

Those present were there to bid a final farewell and finally close a tragic chapter that had left unanswered questions for almost two decades.

In April of this year, the Gallagher family received some massive news when, following DNA testing, it emerged that a body buried in an unnamed grave in a Gorey cemetery since October of 1999 was in actual fact the 29 year-old Kilmore man.

A former fisherman, Packy was last seen on September 28, 1999 after leaving the old Tower Bar at 11.15 p.m. Before leaving, he placed a £50 note into an RNLI charity box and was never seen again.

An inquest into Mr Gallagher's death was held in 2014 in the absence of a body, and Dr Sean Nixon said that it was most likely that he had died by suicide having entered the River in Wexford Harbour.

A month after Mr Gallagher's disappearance, on October 21, 1999, a body washed up on the beach at Courtown. An elasticated band of material around his waste led investigators to believe that he may have been Eastern European and it was estimated at the time that he had been in the water for around eight weeks.

Gardaí said that all the testing available to them was carried out at the time and they said that the body 'could not be positively identified' and the remains were interred at St Michael's Cemetery in Gorey in an unnamed grave.

However, having obtained DNA samples from Mr Gallagher's family earlier this year, in March the grave was exhumed and the remains were positively identified as being those of the Kilmore man.

Stories of Packy were exchanged at the graveside and later back in Quigley's bar as he was finally laid to rest in his home-place. The family also thanked everyone for their support over a long period of time. In a Facebook post, sister Sarah Gallagher said:

'You cried with us, laughed with us, helped us to remember and, at times when we needed to, helped us to forget, so thank you.'

Wexford People

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