Renewed appeal fifteen years after ‘Gussie’s’ disappearance

David Hurley


David Hurley

Appeal: Grainne Seoige and Philip Boucher Hayes of Crimecall, which this week broadcast a reconstruction of the disappearance of Limerick teenager Aengus 'Gussie' Shanahan

GARDAI investigating the disappearance of Aengus “Gussie” Shanahan in Limerick city almost 15 years ago are collating and assessing the information they received following a renewed television appeal.

Hundreds of thousands of viewers will have seen a full reconstruction of his last known movements which was broadcast as part of a renewed appeal on RTÉ’s Crimecall programme on Monday night.

The youngest of four children of Bob and Nancy, Aengus was last seen leaving the former Coopers bar on Joseph Street at around 10.30pm on February 11, 2000.

He had been at the premises with friends and was leaving to get food before heading home.

CCTV footage shows him leaving the premises and a woman, who was parking her car in the area at around the same time, later told gardai she saw him walking in the direction of Barrington Street.

He was never seen alive since.

Gussie was only 20 years old at the time of his disappearance and despite numerous searches and a nationwide appeal his whereabouts have never been identified.

His disappearance also resulted in the country’s first online missing person appeal.

While the garda investigation into Gussie’s disappearance has always remained open, it was one of around 200 cases examined by the Garda cold case unit, in recent years.

Sergeant Gearoid Thompson, who is attached to Roxboro Road garda station, says gardai believe there are still people out there who have information about the disappearance of the 20-year-old.

“We feel that somebody somewhere knows what happened that night and what may appear small and trivial to one person could actually end up being of pivotal importance,” said Sgt Thompson, who featured on Monday’s programme.

While a number of calls were received from members of the public following Monday’s appeal, gardai say it’s too early to say if any new significant information emerged.

“People have been kind enough to contact us and as well as being open during the programme, the lines stay open for some time afterwards so we are in the process of collating the calls and assessing the information provided,” said Sgt Thompson, who is appealing to anyone with information about what happened to Gussie not to assume that others have contacted gardai.

“You may remember some insignificant detail that could be pivotal to our investigations but I would appeal to people not to assume that others have picked up the phone and contacted us. We would love to hear from anybody who knows anything from that night and our lines of communication are always open,” he said.

Speaking in 2013 Bob Shanahan said Gussie’s family had long since given up hope that he would be found alive.

“We hope that somebody would just come forward and tell us where the body is. Between the gardai and the rest of us, we think he was probably murdered, that’s what all the indications are. So at this stage we are not looking for gestures or for prosecutions so much as some closure. At this stage of our lives all we are really looking for is a body so we can give him a Christian burial,” he told the Limerick Leader.