Northern Ireland news

Tributes paid to missing north Belfast woman Ruth Maguire following recovery of body in Co Louth

Ruth Maguire went missing while visiting Carlingford on a friend's hen party

TRIBUTES have been paid to a north Belfast woman whose body is believed to have been recovered from the water in Co Louth.

Gardaí last night said a body had been found in the search for mother-of-three Ruth Maguire who went missing from a hen party in Carlingford.

The remains of a woman were recovered from the water between Carlingford and Greenore, Co Louth yesterday afternoon.

Gardaí said the search for Ms Maguire had been "stood down following the discovery of a body of a woman".

"The body is believed to be that of missing woman Ruth Maguire," a spokesperson said.

Ms Maguire is understood to be originally from Ligoniel in north Belfast but had been living with her family in Newcastle, Co Down.

She had travelled to Carlingford on Saturday with around 30 friends to celebrate her friend's upcoming wedding but went missing after 11pm that night.

A major search operation involving the Irish Coast Guard and lifeboat services was launched when the rest of the hen party failed to find her. Her phone was switched off and her coat was later found in the bar she was last in with her friends.

Members of Ms Maguire's family are understood to have travelled to Carlingford after the search was launched.

Tributes have been posted on social media following the discovery of the body yesterday with many describing their devastation at Ms Maguire's death.

One tribute said "RIP gorgeous girl", while another added that she was "such a beautiful young lady. RIP beautiful".

Others said they were praying for the family of Ms Maguire at this sad time.

"Thinking of all of you at this absolutely devastating time. Sending all of you strength and love", while another said: "Heartbroken for her family, her partner and her three children".

A post-mortem examination is due to take place.

The Garda spokesperson also said last night that they "wish to thank the public for their help in this instance, the help of the volunteers and the coastguard".

Meanwhile, concerns have been raised for the welfare of a Co Antrim woman missing since Saturday.

Coastguard rescue teams have been searching for Nicola Murray (43), who was last seen leaving her home in Cushendall at around 6.15pm.

Rescue teams from Coleraine, Ballycastle and Larne were dispatched, and Red Bay RNLI lifeboat was also launched.

Police said her family are extremely concerned for her welfare.

Ms Murray is described as 5ft 3in tall, of slim build and was wearing a short red padded coat, dark blue jeans and a pink beanie hat when she disappeared.

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