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The first national Missing Persons Day, which takes place, today, Wednesday, 4th December 2013 is an opportunity for us all to remember those who have gone missing, to recognise the impact on their families, friends and loved ones and to highlight the scale of the issue, according to the David Stanton TD, Chairperson of the Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality

Members of the Committee will be present this morning at the National Missing Persons Day at Farmleigh House.

Committee Chairman David Stanton TD said: “Our Committee welcomes the launch of Ireland’s first National Missing Persons Day. The establishment of a National Missing Persons Day was one of the key recommendations of a report on missing persons published last year by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality. That report was based on hearings the committee held in relation to Missing Persons. The never ending deep trauma, worry and sense of loss arising from not knowing how or why a loved one has gone missing, what has happened to him or to her, whether he or she is still alive or not was emphasised to, and was appreciated by, Committee Members.

One of the contributors to the Committee was Davis College, Mallow, Co Cork. Students from this college undertook the ‘Forget Me Not’ campaign as part of their transition year project to raise awareness of the issue of missing persons in Ireland. This campaign was a resounding success and is a credit to all of those who took part and it is fitting that the theme of the inaugural Missing Persons event is ‘Forget Me Not’.

Every year, between 7,000-8,000 people are reported missing to the Gardai – almost 20 a day. While the majority of these cases are resolved and most people turn up unharmed after a short time, a small number of cases remain unresolved every year. This leads to much anxiety, worry, heartbreak and uncertainty for their families, friends and loved ones. It is important that we remember these people, support their families and recognize the work carried out by State agencies and voluntary groups that provide support and help.”