Divers returning to search for Lifford man

Divers and search teams from around the country plan to return to Lifford this weekend, in a further effort to locate Lifford man David Colhoun, who has been missing since May 22nd.

Divers and search teams from around the country plan to return to Lifford this weekend, in a further effort to locate Lifford man David Colhoun, who has been missing since May 22nd.

Tosh Lavery, a retired Garda diver who is now chairperson of the national group Searching for the Missing, said divers and search units from Carrick-on-Suir, from Boyne Fishermen’s Rescue and Recovery and from Limerick will be among those working with Foyle Search and Rescue this weekend. Mr. Colhoun’s family believe the young man drowned after he escaped from police custody more than four months ago.

Sean Doherty, brother-in-law to missing Ballyshannon girl Mary Boyle, will travel from Offaly to take part in the weekend search, along with relations of other people who have gone missing in Ireland.

“Not knowing is torture,” said Mr. Lavery, a member of the Garda diving unit for 30 years, until 2004.

“You wake up in the morning thinking of the person who’s gone missing,” said Liz Kavanagh of Searching for the Missing. “Some people are out every day, searching through rain and snow. You go to bed thinking of that person. Your whole life revolves around it.”

Ms. Kavanagh’s partner is a brother of Shane Moran, the Limerick man who has been missing since January 2009. A relation of Mr. Moran’s will also take part in the search for Mr. Colhoun, as will Patrick Collins of Mayo, whose sister Sandra has been missing since December 2000.

A Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) spokesperson said the search for Mr. Colhoun “is still live and will remain so”.

Mr. Colhoun, 22, of Beechwood Avenue, Lifford, was last seen early on Sunday, May 22nd, after he escaped from PSNI custody. He had been arrested for what police described as minor offences. It is understood that CCTV footage showed Mr. Colhoun heading toward the River Mourne, but did not show him enter the river.

Ms. Kavanagh and Mr. Lavery are in regular contact with the Colhoun family, and members of the group have been involved in the search. “We’re a group that acts as buffers between gardaí and families,” Mr. Lavery said. “We liaise with search and recovery.”

During his career, the diver took part in many search and recovery efforts following sea tragedies in Donegal, such as the loss of the trawlers Evelyn Marie and Carraig Una. He said there has been great community support in the search for Mr. Colhoun.

“Donegal people have been touched by many tragedies down through the years,” Mr. Lavery said. “But they’re the salt of the earth and they’ve proven that.”