Friends of Irish man missing in Poland make emotional plea20/06/2012 - 09:07:40
Two close friends of the 21-year-old Irish soccer fan missing in Poland since last Sunday morning have made an emotional appeal for help in locating their friend.
James Nolan from Blessington, Wicklow was last seen at approximately 2am on Sunday morning in the city of Bydgoszcz, some 130km north-east of Poznan, at which stage he became separated from friends.
Two of his best friends from Blessington, Adam Cullen (24) and Aidan Willoughby (22), were in James’ company that night and have waited in the Polish city with other friends since doing all they can to try to locate their friend.
However, in a joint statement this morning, the young men admit they feel isolated and have made a plea to the Irish Embassy in Poland and the Department of Foreign Affairs to do all they can to help find their friend.
“We all miss him terribly and we need him home as we and his family are heartbroken and call on all resources here and at home to be used for his safe return," the two said in the statement.
"The Embassy have been here to help and that is greatly appreciated but we have struggled with the language barrier. We’re strangers in a strange country and are finding it overwhelming as it is not without language problems.
“We feel that the search would be made easier if we had, at least, a full-time translator on the ground with us to help with the local police who are being as helpful as they can be,” they said.
Speaking of their friend, they said James was very well-known locally.
"He is a smiley outgoing person with a very witty sense of humour. He is involved in various sporting circles and I'm sure a lot of people all around Ireland are concerned about his whereabouts.”
It is understood that a number of gardaí are due to travel to Bydgoszcz today to assist with the search.
Both Adam and Aidan play soccer and GAA with James. Aidan is a childhood friend of James’ while Adam goes to college with James, who is a student of Environmental Engineering at IT Tallaght.
They admit they are "blown away" by support received from Irish fans in Poland and from people at home.
“We are helping the police with any details of the investigation which is needed as well as carrying out our own searches and flyer drops and would call out to anyone with any information to come forward. We are blown away by the outpouring of support from the general public both at home and abroad.”
The group James Nolan was in was a group of seven travelling for Euro 2012 in two camper vans.
Adam and Aidan said that that up until Saturday they had an "amazing adventure" in which James (known as Jam to his friends) was "the centre of attention at most times".
They met up in Bydgosczc with four more Irish fans who are friends of some of their group. They watched the Poland v Czech Republic game in the local Bydgosczc Zawisza stadium adjacent to the hotel they were staying in (Hotel Focus). Afterwards they went into the old town square and went into a pub in the area at midnight.
“There we enjoyed drinks with the locals, who had been extremely friendly all night including at the stadium. Around 2am, a member of the group (not James) was involved in a minor altercation with a small group of local men sitting in the bar. The minor altercation ended in a matter of seconds and all involved and the rest of our group remained in the pub. Shortly afterwards, we decided to leave the bar as a number of the group wanted to go home and others went to find a nightclub.
“It appears that Jam left the group or pub alone prior to this. When Jam failed to return to the hotel by late morning and was not contactable, we became extremely concerned and members of the group contacted local police at 2.30pm. Others drove and walked around the city area looking for him and contacted hospitals.
“The search has continued from then and we ask everyone to keep the awareness high and appeal for further information. We believe that someone out there could have a crucial piece of information to aid the search,” they said.
James Nolan is approximately 5’5’' in height and when last seen was wearing a white Chuck Norris t-shirt with dark blue jeans and grey Adidas runners.
Members of his family are travelling to Poland today to assist with the search.
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