25 January 2006

Family in plea over missing man


Martin Kelly went missing in Belfast

The family of a County Down man who disappeared on New Year's Day say police could do more to find him.

Martin Kelly, 21, from Holywood, went missing after going with friends to Pat's Bar in Garmoyle Street in the docks area of Belfast.

The plumber and part-time barman stayed on after his friends left and was seen leaving the bar alone at 1910 GMT.

His family said the police spent just an hour searching the water and have not returned, despite frequent pleas.

The Kelly family also said CCTV footage had not been fully examined.

They were so frustrated, they said, that they approached underwater search teams from the Republic of Ireland to get help.

The Kellys travelled to Ardglass on Monday where there have also been complaints about the lack of resources available to search for the two fishermen who drowned last week

Martin's mother, Karen Kelly said police told her that they think her son fell into the water.

However, police have said that they have no no evidence that Martin is in the water.

The family pleaded with the search and rescue teams working in Ardglass to help them.

Paul Kelly, Martin's brother in law, said: "We find it absolutely amazing that he may be in the River Lagan.

"We have asked for an extensive search, but up to this time it has not been done.

"We know the police are very under resourced. I think that has been explained as well to the Ardglass people. We just want Martin's body home. If he is in the River Lagan we need to get it out."

Teams from Drogheda and Dundalk have agreed to search in the River Lagan.

Some of the divers took unpaid leave to come to Ardglass.

Richard Skelly, Boyne Fishermen's Rescue and Recovery, said: "We are voluntary search groups...We will never turn anybody down, if we can.

"If it was one of your own, you would like them recovered or found. The family have to be going through a living nightmare, hopefully we can bring it to closure for them."

The Kelly family said they had been left with no choice but to take matters into their own hands. They just want to know what has happened to Martin.

HIs mother, Karen, said: "I get up in the morning, it is just another day. It is like a living nightmare. I think I have died and I am in hell."

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