Name of State's longest missing person added to family headstone

Name Of State's Longest Missing Person Added To Family Headstone Name Of State's Longest Missing Person Added To Family Headstone
Frank O'Neill at his family's grave in Ballygunner after the name of his missing brother, Jimmy, was added to the headstone. Photo: Noel Browne
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Muireann Duffy

The name of the State's longest missing person has been added to the headstone on his family's grave in Co Waterford, over 75 years after he disappeared.

As reported by the Waterford News & Star, Jimmy O'Neill went missing from Leamy Street in Waterford city on December 15th, 1947, when he was just 16.

Jimmy, who worked in the area at the Clyde Shipping Company, has had no contact with his family since that day, when his brother Frank believes he stowed away on a ship.

Jimmy's name was added to his family's headstone in St Mary's Cemetery in Ballygunner, where their father James and mother Bridget are both buried.

The inscription reads: 'Jimmy O'Neill - Missing from home but never forgotten'.

Frank told WLR FM: "If you have a thing in your system, a grief, you will do anything to eliminate that grief."

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Frank also told the Irish Examiner that his parents both died "broken-hearted", adding that putting Jimmy's name on the headstone was a sign that the family had held onto the hope of being reunited with him for over 70 years.

Frank said that if Jimmy stowed away on a ship, he would have had assistance, telling the Examiner: "I remember one woman telling my mother that Jimmy is grand.

"My mother asked would she take a card to him, but the woman said no she couldn’t, she would get another woman in trouble."

He added: "If Jimmy had any family, they might come back here and see that I never forgot him."

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