Detectives have made their first arrests in the mystery case of a then 48-year-old man who vanished without trace more than three years ago.
Gardai believe that Patrick Heeran, who was last seen alive in October 2011, was murdered over a drugs debt.
Yesterday morning in a series of raids carried out by Leitrim officers, two women aged 32 and 28 were arrested in Nenagh and Thurles respectively, while a 32-year-old man was arrested in Tuam, Co Galway.
Two of the suspects were being questioned at Henry Street Garda Station in Limerick last night while another of them was being quizzed in the city's Roxboro Road Station.
A senior source explained that none of the three arrested people is believed to have murdered Mr Heeran, but officers believe that they may have key information.
Yesterday's arrests are the biggest development to happen in the mystery case but sources said that gardai are building a clearer picture of what happened to the unfortunate man.
Mr Heeran, who was single, was last seen around 4.20pm on October 3, 2011, at Aughavas, near Mohill, Co Leitrim.
He had been in a local supermarket on the day he disappeared and was last seen after being dropped off at his home by a passing motorist who had given him a lift.
Patrick was 5ft 9ins, of stocky build with fair hair. When he was last seen he was wearing brown shoes, blue denim jeans and a brown jacket.
Earlier this year, gardai based at Carrick-on-Shannon station conducted searches for clues for Patrick Heeran in the Belturbet area of Co Cavan, with negative results.
For many weeks after he first went missing, searches were carried out on land close to Patrick's home, located between Mohill and Carrigallen.
Gardai have also enlisted the help of Interpol in their bid to solve the mystery of the missing farm worker, but to no avail.
There have been reports that two gang members involved in the suspected murder were also involved in intimidation of gardai.
One line in the investigation was that the gang who murdered him may also have given the missing man a serious beating during the summer of 2011, which left him with an arm injury.