The Police Service of Northern Ireland took part in a commemorative ceremony this morning to mark the tenth annual national Missing Persons Day.
National Missing Persons Day is an all-Ireland day of commemoration, providing an opportunity for family members and friends of missing persons to remember their loved ones and to appeal to the public for any information that might be of assistance to Police.
2022 marks the welcome return of an in-person ceremony following the delivery of online commemorative ceremonies in 2020 and 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking ahead of the ceremony hosting Minister, James Browne said: “National Missing Persons Day is an important date in our national calendar. I want to use today to echo the central messages we communicate each year. If you have information, no matter how minor it may appear, I would urge you to please come forward and share this information with Police.”
Across the island there are 897 long term missing cases being investigated, 61 of whom are from Northern Ireland.
This year there was a particular focus on the significance of DNA samples, with forensic scientists present. Minister Browne added: “I want to encourage families of missing persons who have yet to provide a DNA sample to consider doing so. Your sample will be compared with others held on Ireland’s DNA database. This has made a crucial contribution to several missing person cases in recent years.”
Superintendent Julie Mullan from the Police Service of Northern Ireland spoke at this year’s event saying: “This day is an incredibly useful and important way to raise awareness of missing people across the island of Ireland and I’m thankful to have been able to speak in person.
“As a police officer, I recognise the significant and lasting trauma of a loved one’s disappearance but I cannot pretend to fully understand what it is like to have a family member or friend go missing.
“The families and loved ones of missing people deserve answers. I would encourage anyone who may have information about the whereabouts of a missing person to come forward. Any information, even if it appears insignificant or irrelevant, could be the missing piece to the puzzle that investigating officers need.
“You can always call 101 with information or if you’d prefer to remain anonymous you can call CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111.”
To watch this year’s virtual ceremony please visit www.justice.ie.