Minister of State at the Department of Justice, James Browne, TD, will today, Wednesday 7 December, host the annual ceremony to mark national Missing Persons Day. This is the tenth annual Missing Persons Day.
Missing Persons Day is an annual commemorative day for families and friends to remember their missing loved ones. Missing Persons Day also provides a nationwide platform to appeal to the public for information on missing persons.
To mark national Missing Persons Day, a commemorative ceremony is hosted by the Minister each year. The ceremony features spoken contributions from families of missing persons, as well as speeches from the Minister, the Garda Commissioner, and other speakers, including state and voluntary organisations, expert practitioners and academics. This year’s ceremony is compered by Barry Cummins, RTE’s Prime Time Security Correspondent.
2022 marks the welcome return of an in-person ceremony following the delivery of online commemorative ceremonies in 2020 and 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s ceremony takes place at Croke Park. The ceremony will also be livestreamed on the Department’s website so that those who unable to attend in person or are living overseas can view the ceremony.
Speaking ahead of the ceremony, Minister Browne said:
“National Missing Persons Day is an important date in our national calendar. The objective of Missing Persons Day is twofold: the Missing Persons Day ceremony offers families and friends of missing people the opportunity to gather together to commemorate their loved ones; while Missing Persons Day equally provides a critical national focal point to raise awareness of Ireland’s missing persons.
I want to use today to echo the central messages we communicate each year. If you have information, no matter how minor it may appear, I would urge you to please come forward and share this information with An Garda Síochána. Any information has the potential to make a contribution to resolving a missing person case.
I also want to encourage families of missing persons who have yet to provide a DNA sample to consider doing so. Your DNA sample will be compared with samples held on Ireland’s DNA database to check if a matching sample of DNA is already stored on the database. Forensic scientists are available at today’s ceremony to take your DNA sample, or you can provide a DNA sample to Gardaí. The collection and matching of DNA samples has made a crucial contribution to several missing persons cases in this country in recent years.”
Speaking on this National Missing Person’s Day, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said,
“An Garda Síochána has a duty to establish the facts about those who have gone missing in Ireland. The Garda Missing Persons Bureau and Gardaí nationwide work hard to locate all those who go missing. This can sometimes require our close co-operation with international policing partners including Europol and Interpol.
“In recent years, there has been a greater, collective focus on ensuring families are kept informed of the progress of investigations. The tools available to us to investigate missing persons also continue to expand and improve. Advances in DNA Tracking and the establishment of a National Missing Persons DNA database place us in a far stronger position to identify those who have gone missing.
“We urge anyone with information linked with the disappearance of a person, no matter how insignificant it might seem to please come forward and speak with a member of An Garda Síochána.”
Minister Browne added:
“On this significant anniversary of Ireland’s national Missing Persons Day, I am delighted to launch an information guide for families and friends of missing persons. The guide seeks to act as a signpost to information on justice sector agencies and their role in missing persons’ cases. Additional information on other State, support and voluntary organisations is also included in the guide.
Missing Persons Day is an all-Ireland commemorative day and I am particularly pleased that the PSNI will speak at this year’s ceremony for the first time. My Department greatly appreciates the long-standing support for Missing Persons Day from a range of organisations in Northern Ireland.”
The Minister concluded:
“I want to thank each of our contributors to this year’s tenth anniversary ceremony. My special thanks goes to the families of missing people who are speaking at the ceremony this year. I also want to thank all who have supported Missing Persons Day since its inception. Thanks to your support Missing Persons Day can continue to evolve over the coming decade.”
This year’s ceremony commences at 11.15 a.m. and is livestreamed atNational Missing Person’s Day Ceremony 2022 - YouTube and via our social channels (Twitter, Facebook and YouTube). The ceremony will also be available to be watched back on the Department’s website at any point after the conclusion of the event.
Notes for editors:
On 4 December 2013, Ireland held its inaugural national Missing Persons Day with a commemorative ceremony which took place at Farmleigh House, Dublin. The inaugural ceremony was attended by the families and friends of missing persons, as well as many of the organisations working in the community on their behalf. The ceremony incorporated musical and personal tributes and reflections, followed by a tree planting ceremony in the grounds of Farmleigh House.
The event was also attended by the second level students of Davis College, Mallow, Co. Cork, who organised a campaign to raise awareness of missing persons’ issues and to call for a national Missing Persons Day. This year, the students of Davis College will perform a number of pieces of music to mark the tenth anniversary of the commemorative ceremony.
National Missing Persons Day has been developed into an annual campaign in partnership with a number of organisations and this year’s ceremony will mark the first ceremony involving in-person attendance following the Covid-19 pandemic.