Since before Christmas, the thoughts and prayers of many people in North Monaghan and beyond have been focused on the family of Kieran McAree from Emyvale. With police in the North believing the 23 year-old is dead, after claims he entered the river near Enniskillen Castle, the focus now is on retrieving his body.
The PSNI and other agencies continue to conduct a search operation in the Round ‘O’ area, which began following the report on Wednesday, December 17th, that he was missing. Kieran is described as 5’7” tall, with short curly brown hair, and wore glasses. He may have been driving a Volkswagen Golf car prior to going missing.
PSNI Chief Inspector Brian Foster said, “Significant water-based and land-based searches are continuing. Police have appealed for anyone who can help with their enquiries to contact them. We are also appealing for anyone in the vicinity to check outbuildings and land.”
Police divers searched the lake bed near to the Lough Gates at Lough Erne, eliminating areas of interest located by specialised sonar equipment. A police helicopter and victim recovery dog have also been used to check the surrounding area. Kieran McAree’s family and friends searched the river banks and kayakers along with private boats checked the Lough.
Boyne Fishermen’s Rescue and Recovery divers stayed overnight and were out on the lough at first light. Many dives where carried out in the fast river current making this a very difficult and dangerous task. Other dive teams attended for the family and worked till dark. Three police boats assisted in the tasks and will be back on the water in the morning.
Thomas Daly, a volunteer with the Boyne Fishermen’s Rescue and Recovery Service, has said his team which has included up to 37 people will not leave Lough Erne “until we have found Kieran”.
“We have spent the last two weeks searching from where the car was last seen, where the shoes were found. We have been studying the river and there was a fair flow on the river the morning he entered it. We are searching along the spots where we believe he could be”.
“We will not be leaving yet, no, not until we have found Kieran. We are thinking about the family and are here to help put an end to this, to help them move on,” he said.
Scores of people joined the search on Christmas Day and St Stephen’s Day following appeals by family members on Facebook and Twitter.
“This is the biggest search I have ever witnessed on Lough Erne. The community in Fermanagh is really pulling together to help Kieran’s family,” Constable Gavin Huey told The Impartial Reporter.
“We have been using a helicopter, boats and sonar. The divers have been searching in very cold, fast flowing water. The speed of the river and poor visibility has made it difficult but we are determined to keep going for as long as we can. I have never seen a search of this nature last as long,” he said.
Rodney Edwards in his excellent reports from the scene says it is believed that Kieran entered the water after abandoning his Volkswagen Golf near Henry Street in the early hours of December 17. Some of his belongings, including his shoes, have been recovered close to the scene. For his father Martin, mother Geraldine, brother Damien and sister Aisling from Emyvale the wait is an agonising one and there has been a sombre mood at the Round ‘O’ where they have been standing every day since he disappeared. They wait and hope. There are tears, prayers and emotional scenes. Yet among all the sadness, there is a strong sense of community.
“The level of support from across the county and across Ireland has been quite extraordinary. From taking part in the search to making food. The Anchorage Coffee Shop at the Round ‘O’ have been making tea and sandwiches and other food for free. Everybody has been out in force; all types of groups, organisations and people – all eager to help,” explained Constable Huey.
“All our thoughts and prayers must continue to be with Kieran’s family. I know so many people are thinking about them and want to help and you can see that through this search and the reaction on Facebook. Many people have been getting emotional during all of this. We would just love to get a resolution so we can bring the family some closure. They really do appreciate all the help and support of the people in Fermanagh,” he said.