National Missing Persons Day in Ireland Date in the current year: December 4, 2024

National Missing Persons Day in Ireland National Missing Persons Day is observed in Ireland on the first Wednesday of December every year. It was created to commemorate those who have gone missing and raise awareness of support services and resources available to the loved ones of missing people, including the national DNA database.

A missing person is a person who has disappeared and whose status as alive or dead cannot be confirmed because there is no information about their whereabouts and condition. People may go missing for various reasons: voluntarily (i.e. to escape domestic abuse or start a new life under a new identity), due to mental illness, accidents, crime (for example, kidnapping or murder), death in a remote location or without identification, and more.

While most missing persons are found quickly, some missing person cases may remain unsolved for years and even decades. In many jurisdictions, a missing person cannot be declared dead in absentia until a certain number of years have passed. Due to this, relatives of missing persons cannot deal with their assets, hold a funeral etc., which results in a lack of closure and may have long-lasting effects on missing peoples’ families and friends.

National Missing Persons Day has been observed in Ireland every first Wednesday of December since 2013. The inaugural commemorative ceremony took place at Farmleigh House in Dublin. It was attended by the families and friends of missing persons, representatives of various organizations that work on their behalf, and students of Davis College, Mallow who organized a missing persons awareness campaign. The event incorporated personal and musical tributes and reflections, followed by a tree planting ceremony.

The main objectives of National Missing Persons Day are to commemorate those who have gone missing and never been found, recognize the lasting trauma their families and friends endure, draw attention to open and unsolved missing person cases, raise awareness of support services available to the loved ones of missing people, and highlight the pivotal work of the Garda Missing Person Unit, Forensic Science Ireland, and Ireland’s national DNA Database.

National Missing Persons Day events are organized the Department of Justice, the Garda Síochána (the national police of Ireland), and state and volunteer organizations that help the families of missing people. They typically include an intimate commemorative ceremony that features family testimonials, speeches from government officials, live music, a slideshow of missing persons’ pictures, and the symbolic release of pigeons or a flower laying ceremony. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the commemorative ceremony was held online.

By the way, Ireland was the first country to dedicate a monument to people who have gone missing. A national monument to missing people was unveiled at Kilkenny Castle in 2002. It was created by local artist Ann Mulrooney and features the handprints of family members of missing people.

Ireland is not the only country that has an observance dedicated to missing people. For example, the US version of National Missing Persons Day is observed on February 3. It was initiated by Jo Ann Lowitzer, a Texan woman whose daughter Alexandra went missing in April 2010.

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National Missing Persons Day in Ireland, observances in Ireland, commemorative days, missing persons