Search continues for missing 73-year-old Limerick man

The late John Michael McSweeney.

GARDAÍ in County Limerick have renewed their appeal for assistance in tracing the whereabouts of a missing 73-year-old man from Athea this morning as further search parties set out.

John McSweeney was last seen in the area of his home in Athea, County Limerick, on the afternoon of Saturday January 6.

Over the last week, Gardaí with assistance from the Coast Guard, Civil Defence, volunteer search organisations, and a large number of concerned locals have conducted searches of land and forestry in the Knockaclugga area of Athea.

A further search took off at 10am this morning (Sunday) from Knockaclugga, Athea (V94 D2H6), with local volunteers called on to take part.

John is described as being approximately 5′ 7″ in height, slim build, bald, and has a missing front tooth.

Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter

When last seen, John was wearing a black coat, a black peaked cap, and wellington boots.

“An Garda Síochána are appealing to land owners and people who may have buildings or out houses, or persons with vacant dwellings in nearby areas, to check them to see if they have been used or might assist Gardaí in locating John,” a Garda spokesman said.

“Any road users who were travelling in the Athea or West Limerick areas on the afternoon of Saturday January 6, and may have seen a lone male walking or anything else which may have drawn their attention, are asked to contact Gardaí.”

Earlier this week, local Fine Gael councillor Liam Galvin told the Limerick Post that, in all his political career, he has “never seen such a show of community support and determination” such as the one rallying the community to find John.

“Everyone wants to be involved and to help, from walking the fields and the forest to providing food and hot drinks for the search teams,” the Abbeyfeale man said.

Teams of locals have been braving the bitter cold every day this week, with the exception of Thursday when Gardaí asked volunteers to stay home so specialist sniffer dogs could be brought in for a clear run.

“It’s a big search area. We have a lot of forestry and bog land but nobody wants to give up,” said Cllr Galvin.

“We are absolutely baffled as to what has happened. John went out for a walk on Saturday and has quite literally disappeared.”

Cllr Galvin said that the turnout is “a tribute to the community spirit. The level of volunteerism in these terribly cold conditions is unbelievable.”

Anyone with any information on John’s whereabouts is asked to contact Newcastle West Garda station on 069 20 650, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda station.