herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Missing Paul's partner dreading sad Mother's Day

It should be the happiest Mother's Day picture Martina McQuillan could have, but for the partner of missing Tallaght dad Paul Byrne it is another reminder of the fact that her two girls will probably never see their father again.

Two-year-old Abbey can remember her daddy, but baby Faith, who is just a month old, was only conceived the month before Paul vanished from outside his Kilmartin Green home last July.

It is a family portrait with no father figure, and eight months on the hopes of finding Paul are fading.

Both Martina and Paul's mother Ashley Dempsey have come to terms with the belief that he was most likely murdered, but both also cling to the hope of someday giving him a Christian burial.

Paul (20) vanished after getting into a wine-coloured Mitsubishi Charisma car outside his Tallaght home on Wednesday July 15 last.

Sources close to the family say they are surprised Paul got into the car, even though he knew who was in it.

There was a glimmer of hope that remains found in the Dublin Mountains last month may have been those of Paul, but tests revealed they were those of another missing Tallaght man, Ken Fetherston.

So for Ashley, Martina and their families the wondering continues.

The one good piece of news in their lives however is that Martina and her family are moving from the Kilmartin area to escape the bad memories and constant harassment they have been subjected to since Paul's disappearance.

Ashley Dempsey has already moved, and now Martina and the two girls she had with Paul are also to make a fresh start away from Tallaght.

"We hope to move next week. It will be a bigger house that is all freshly painted, and it will be away from all the hassle here," Martina's mother Sharon told the Herald.

"We can't wait. It will be like a new beginning," she added.

And for Mother's Day itself, Martina's dad will look after the children to allow Martina and Sharon to go out for a mother's meal together.

"It will do Martina good. I don't know how she hasn't lost her mind," said Sharon.

Since Paul's disappearance, both Ashley and Martina's homes on Kilmartin Green have come under attack from thugs who have kicked the doors and shouted sick rants claiming they would never find his body.

And last week a hoax caller rang the fire brigade to say that Sharon and Martina's boiler had exploded and the house was on fire.

After the search of the Dublin Mountains when the human remains were found last month, gardai also sealed off the massive Corkagh Park that stretches from the Naas Road to Clondalkin in a sweep for Paul's body, but the search was fruitless.

A group claiming to be the Real IRA recently contacted the Herald and threatened "swift and resolute action" against Paul's alleged killers unless his body was returned to his family.

"We call for the immediate return of the body of Paul Byrne who was senselessly murdered by criminal elements," said the statement to this paper.

"We know who was involved and we will take swift and resolute action if the body is not returned to his grieving family immediately," it added.

cfeehan@herald.ie

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