County Limerick cousin of man missing in Australia speaks out 

Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville

Police in Australia are continuing their search for Paddy Moriarty, the Abbeyfeale man who has been missing from his home for almost three months

Police in Australia are continuing their search for Paddy Moriarty, the Abbeyfeale man who has been missing from his home for almost three months

POLICE in Australia are continuing their search for Paddy Moriarty, the Abbeyfeale man who has been missing from his home in Larrimah, Northern Territory,  for almost three months.

Over the past week, police divers, detectives and forensic investigators carried out a search of the Larrimah Dam and have now begun searching other sites of interest. The police are continuing to regard the case as suspicious and have again appealed to people who may have information but have not yet spoken to them to come forward.

Meanwhile, there has been a significant breakthrough in tracing Mr Moriarty’s family and relatives.

A cousin, living in England, has provided a DNA sample to police and a number of second cousins have been identified in the Abbeyfeale area, including Cllr Francis Foley.

“I have no memory of him,” Cllr Foley explained to the Limerick Leader.

“I would have been a child when he left.

“I knew his grandfather. He was Pattie Moriarty, a brother of my grandmother Josie Moriarty. They all came from Abbeyfeale.”

Pattie, Cllr Foley recalled, lived near Meenahella and he remembered that he died while saving hay in a meadow.

Another brother, Joseph,  lived in the home-place, Dromtrasna Collins.

Pattie Moriarty’s daughter from a second marriage was Mary Theresa Moriarty, who was known as Babe. Paddy Moriarty was born to Mary Theresa, outside of marriage.

“She died in 1995,” Cllr Foley said, and many of the first cousins emigrated, to the US and to the UK.

Cllr Foley has no recollection of it but believes Paddy Moriarty may have come back to Abbeyfeale for a visit about 40 years ago. Since photos have appeared online and in newspapers of Paddy Moriarty, locals in Abbeyfeale have commented on his likeness to his grandfather.

Paddy Moriarty is believed to have left for Australia in 1965 on the Fairstar and worked as a stockman in Australia.

He put down roots in Larrimah, a tiny community in the Northern Territory with a population of 13 and it is there that the search for Paddy is centred. Paddy was last seen on December 16 when he left his local bar, The Pink Panther, saying “I’ll see you tomorrow” to the bar owner, Ben Sharpe.

When he failed to turn up over the next couple of days, the alarm was raised.

But a search of his home revealed food on the table, his  hat and wallet in place, the date scratched off his calendar but no Paddy Moriarty. His dog Kellie was also missing.

Cllr Foley referred to reports of tension and bad feeling within the tiny community of Larrimah.

“It looks reasonably nice,” he said. But he continued: “It is sad that somebody left here and now, towards the end of his life, that he is gone off the face of the earth.”

He and other relatives are hoping that an answer to the mystery can be found and soon.