Gussie to be laid to rest as Limerick gardai seek to crack case after breakthrough

Fintan Walsh


Fintan Walsh

‘Please don’t forget him’: Gussie and late mum Nancy Picture: Liam Burke/Press 22

‘Please don’t forget him’: Gussie and late mum Nancy Picture: Liam Burke/Press 22

A SENIOR investigating officer has been appointed to get ‘complete closure’ into the case of the disappearance of the late Aengus ‘Gussie’ Shanahan, in one of the most challenging cold cases in Limerick policing history.

The Limerick Leader has been informed that Gussie’s funeral will take place in a number of weeks.

In a major development this week, gardai confirmed that partial remains discovered on an island in Clare in 2001 were Gussie’s, who had been missing for 18 years.

Roxboro Road’s new superintendent Eamon O’Neill told the Leader that the investigation is “back to square one” and all files in relation to the case will be reviewed.

Gussie’s family were informed of the breakthrough on Monday evening. And while no funeral arrangements have yet been made, gardai are in discussions with the Shanahans about the repatriation of his remains.

Fr Aquinas Duffy, who set up a missing persons website in memory of his cousin Gussie, said it is an “incredible privilege” to finally bury the 20-year-old with his mother Nancy, who passed away in 2016.

He said that before she passed away, Nancy was “relentless” in her pursuit to find out what happened to Gussie. “She would regularly be onto me to say: ‘Please, don’t forget him’ and ‘please, don’t give up. We have to find out’. She really, really kept that going all the time.”

“It’s an incredible thing, when you’re that long searching for somebody, to think that you can have a funeral, that he can be buried with his mother, the name can be put on the headstone.”

Following this major development, Supt O’Neill is appealing for anyone who knows what happened to Gussie between the time he was last seen and his death.

Gussie, of Ashbrook, Ennis Road, was last seen at Old School House Lane, near Barrington Street, after 10.30pm on February 11, 2000. On October 28, 2001, Bunratty Search and Rescue discovered partial remains washed ashore on Quay Island, Bunratty.

Gardai said there were finally able to match the DNA with Aengus Shanahan thanks to developments in DNA technology.

“Unfortunately, because of the deterioration of the remains, the technology wasn’t there to extract DNA profile to match against the control samples that would have been taken from the family,” Supt O’Neill explained this week.

He added: “We do know that his remains have now been found, but to get complete closure—we may never get there—but we owe it to the family. We have come this far.”

Supt O’Neill says the findings in this case “shows the huge advances that are there in technology”, adding that it “should bring hope to other families” who have missing loved ones.

Fr Duffy said there is “nothing to change” the belief that Gussie was murdered.  “Maybe he wasn’t, we don’t know. We don’t have any evidence to suggest that. In some senses, we’re none the wiser. We are extremely happy that he has been found and identified, but as to exactly what happened to him or the cause of death was? We don’t know.”

Anyone with info in relation to Gussie Shanahan is urged to contact Roxboro Road garda station at 061 214340, the Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any garda station.