More must be done to help the families of missing persons – Deputy Seán Crowe
Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe spoke recently during a presentation in the Dáil on the provision enhanced levels of support when a person is reported missing.
During the engagement presentations were made from students of Davis College, Mallow, County Cark and from representatives of the “Forget Me Not” campaign, the Missing in Ireland Support Service, Trace Missing Persons Ireland, Mountain Rescue Ireland, associates of the Boyne Fishermen’s Rescue and Recovery Service, senior Garda personnel and members’ of the Search and Rescue Dog Association of Ireland.
Describing the presentations as both “moving and informative” Deputy Crowe said that it was important that a thorough examination of existing procedures and protocols was implemented in order to improve the chances of finding a person whenever they go missing.
Deputy Crow said: “Over the past five years there have been approximately 40,500 reports of people going missing with the vast majority being found safe and sound.
“In order to tackle this issue more effectively, we need to build up a better profile that explains why people go missing. In some cases mental health problems are a contributory factor as are family and personal difficulties.
“Relatively simple measures can be put in place that can help family members when a loved one goes missing. Showing sensitivity when a spouse or parent has to deal with welfare related matters is one example and providing practical assistance can make a significant difference.
“There also needs to be put in place clear procedures and protocols whenever an emergency occurs.
“The first 48 hours is vital when responding to a missing person case and in other jurisdictions this is considered particularly important when children go missing. In the United States for example, the first 24 hours is often the period of time that dictates if a child will be found and a similar policy is adopted by Irish authorities.
“The objectives of the Forget Me Not campaign are to raise awareness for the issue of missing people in Ireland; to create funds for continued searches; to ensure change in Ireland so that the suffering and plight of these individuals is recognised.
“One of the considerations put forward at this meeting was to have a national missing person’s day to be declared in Ireland and for a place to be found where loved ones are remembered and Sinn Féin will lobby the Government to have this initiative implemented.”