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Philip Cairns: Gardaí issue fresh appeal for people with information to come forward 35 years after boy vanished

Gardaí have issued a fresh appeal for information about the disappearance of schoolboy Philip Cairns 35 years since he vanished.

he 13-year-old boy disappeared as he walked from his house to school, Coláiste Éanna in Ballyroan, south Dublin, on the afternoon of October 23, 1986 – 35 years ago this Saturday.

The case of the Dublin boy gripped 1980s Ireland, and despite years of investigations, Gardaí have never located Philip. 

Gardaí now say there may be people with information, who were young at the time of Philip’s disappearance and were not in a position to come forward at the time, and urged them to now come forward.

In a statement this evening, Gardaí issued a new appeal.

“Philip had left his new school, Coláiste Éanna, at 12.50pm and walked the short distance to his home at Ballyroan road, Rathfarnham. At 1.30pm, he gathered up his schoolbag and left his house to return to school. That was the last his family ever saw of Philip,” the force said.

Six days after Philip’s disappearance, his schoolbag was found in a laneway near the school that links Ann Devlin Road and Ann Devlin Drive, and some of his books were missing from his bag.

Philip was as 5ft2n in height, with short black hair and when last seen he was wearing his school uniform – a grey jacket with black shoulder corners, grey school trousers, grey shirt and school pullover.

“On this, the 35th anniversary of his disappearance, Gardaí are renewing their appeal to the public for information,” the force said.

“There may be persons who may have information in relation to Philips’ disappearance or Philip’s school bag and for whatever reason did not come forward. Following the passage of time and changing circumstances these people may now be in a position to assist us.

“There may be persons, who were young at the time of Philips’ disappearance and not in a position to provide An Garda Síochána with information, who may now be able to come forward.”

Gardaí added: “An Garda Síochána want to reassure anyone who comes forward that they will be treated sensitively and discreetly by investigating Gardaí, Even the smallest piece of information, which may seem insignificant, may assist the investigation.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Rathfarnham Garda station on 01 666 6500, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda station.

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