FIFTEEN years ago, 25-year-old Desmond Walsh, from Dromkeen, was last seen in Limerick city.
The pain is as raw for mum Julia Walsh as it was when the gardai rang her back in 1999. To compound her grief, Des disappeared in the early hours of her birthday, on September 18.
Julia and ex-policewoman Catherine Costello, co-founder of the voluntary Searching for the Missing group, and who has investigated the circumstances thoroughly, believe Des was killed.
“It is every parent’s worst nightmare,” said Julia.
“Somebody, somewhere must know what happened to Des and we are appealing to them to come forward and pass on information confidentially. They have been living with this for 15 years,” she adds.
Julia stresses that she doesn’t want a criminal conviction.
“What can you do to anyone at this stage? What is done is done. All I want is closure. I just want to know, that will do me,” said Julia.
Her husband, Thomas, passed away two years after Des disappeared.
“My husband is buried in Pallasgreen and if Des’s body was found we could give him a proper burial and I could visit the two of then together. I am appealing to anybody who may know something to make contact out of the goodness of their hearts. A lot of time has passed,” said Julia.
Des was last seen by two nurses in the Works nightclub in Bedford Row at 2am on September 18, 1999.
“He never came back, nothing whatsoever. When the guards rang me at home to see if he was at home I couldn’t believe it. I said Desmond would never disappear,” said Julia
One of the reasons she believes that her son’s life was taken is that he was badly beaten up some time before September 18.
“He worked in Dell as a security guard. He had been beaten and went into work one day black and blue,” recalls Julia.
This would have been completely out of character for Des, who was a very mild-mannered and personable young man.
“He was very outgoing and loved socialising. He loved music, he used to sing in Scor. He loved his guitar and music. Every place he worked they were mad about him,” said Julia.
Des’s thoughtfulness is shown by the fact that he went back to live at home in Dromkeen for six months when they found that dad, Thomas was sick. “What happened to him is all we want to know,” said Julia.
Ms Costello said that Professor Ella Arensman, president of the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), “has eliminated Desmond Walsh as a suicide victim”.
Ms Costello also talks about an anonymous email about a sighting of Desmond on the night in question.
“My affidavit on Limerick’s missing men, including Desmond Walsh, is with the Minister for Justice and it has been referred to the independent review panel. We are Irish mothers and Julia has been looking for her son for 15 years,” said Ms Costello, who added that the coverage they receive is in stark contrast to “a celebrity getting half a page in a national paper recently making an emotional appeal on her missing dog”.
Gardai in Roxboro can be contacted at 061 214340 or the number for the Searching for the Missing is 085 2092119 if you have information on Des Walsh.