Republic of Ireland news

Search for missing Belfast woman moves to Co Louth forest

 Saoirse Smyth, 29, was last seen in April 2017 in Omeath, where she had been living.
Rebecca Black, PA

A search has started in a Co Louth forest for a missing Belfast woman.

Saoirse Smyth, 29, was last seen in April 2017 in Omeath, where she had been living.

Police believe she was murdered.

Officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and An Garda Siochana are working together in the search of a forested area along with specialist search dogs and forensic archaeologists.

The two organisations previously worked together in the case in July 2018 by carrying out a technical examination of a house in Omeath.

PSNI Detective Chief Inspector Darren McCartney has urged anyone who might be able to help to come forward.

"Saoirse was originally from Belfast and disappeared in April 2017," he said.

"Inquiries have led us to believe that she has been murdered and we have been working closely with our colleagues in An Garda Siochana to get answers for her family.

"Saoirse was last seen in the Belfast area on April 11 2017 and I believe she returned to Omeath, where she was living at the time, later that day.

"Since her disappearance there has been no contact with family or friends, which is highly unusual."

Mr McCartney added: "Saoirse had very distinctive red hair and was approximately 5ft tall and of slim build.

"Today police are making an appeal for information about the circumstances leading to Saoirse's disappearance and murder.

"We are particularly interested in speaking with anyone who had seen Saoirse or was in contact with her since January 2017."

He said Ms Smyth's family are devastated and deserve answers.

Speaking out last year, Ms Smyth's grandmother pleaded for anyone with information to come forward to help them lay her to rest.

"No-one deserves this, we just want to get closure on it," she in July 2018.

"We have heard she is dead and we want to find out where her body is so we can give her a Christian burial and get closure for myself and the rest of her family."

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