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Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Missing woman’s grandmother issues plea for information

The grandmother of a missing Belfast woman  who was last seen in Omeath in April 2017, has issued a plea to anyone with information who can help to find her so that she can be given a Christian burial.

Twenty-eight year old Saoirse Smyth from west Belfast, has been missing for more than a year. Her last known movements have been traced to Omeath where she was living. She was last seen there in April 2017.  Ms Smyth had been reported missing in December 2017 – but she has never been found.  

Earlier this month, detectives launched a murder investigation into her disappearance. A 40-year-old man from Newry and a 48-year-old woman, have been questioned by detectives and released on bail.  A house in Omeath was also searched as part of the investigation.

During a press conference last week, Saoirse’s grandmother, 72 year old Vera Smyth said the last 16 months have been very hard for the family.

“No-one deserves this, we just want to get closure on it,” she said.

“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.

“It is heartbreaking, someone out there knows something.

“If you know anything, come forward to give us peace of mind because she doesn’t deserve the death she has.”

Mrs Smyth said when police told her they believed her granddaughter had been murdered, she felt like a “ton of bricks” dropped from her heart to her feet.

“I couldn’t take it in, I still can’t accept it, it’s hard to take in,” she said.

“I pray to God she didn’t suffer, that it was an easy death, not that death is easy, but I hope she didn’t suffer.

“We knew there was something going on but we couldn’t put a finger on what was going on until the police told us she had been murdered, then it started to sink in, what had happened, where it had happened.

“The last 16 months have been very hard, I put up a front like nothing is going on, but I feel it inside.

“As a family we are always talking about her, sometimes I think she is going to walk through the door but she hasn’t.”

The West Belfast grandmother cared for Saoirse from the age of four after her mother died.   She described her as “a good child, but when she got up a bit, into secondary school, she became a bit out of control.” 

“She lived in a hostel when she turned 16, she wasn’t doing too bad, but I lost contact with her more often than I saw her.”

Appealing to young people to stay away from drugs, Mrs Smyth said “Drugs are a curse. Saoirse took drugs, it changed her life.”

PSNI Detective Chief Inspector Geoff Boyce said a large team of detectives were investigating Saoirse’s disappearance.

“Earlier this month there were a number of individuals arrested and a house searched with the assistance of An Garda Siochana in the Omeath area,” he said.

“The information is gathered at a pace, there are individuals who have been released on bail but they are to come back next month for further interview.

“The family are obviously devastated by the loss of Saoirse so my appeal is around Saoirse’s movements in April 2017, any snippets of information around whose company she was in around that time or where she is now would give the family some closure.”