Co Donegal villagers' thoughts with family

9 May 2007 
The Irish News
Seamus McKinney

Madeleine's disappearance has devastated her grandfather's home village of St Johnston in Co Donegal, a publican said yesterday. Joe Peoples, who took over a bar once owned by the three-year-old's grandfather, Johnny McCann, said the youngster and her parents visited the border village at Easter.

The McCann family have strong links with Co Donegal, where they still have many relatives. Maddy's paternal grandmother Eileen is originally from Crolly in the west of the county.

Mr Peoples said that during the Easter holidays the family spent a week in a bed-and-breakfast in Dungloe and called into his bar on their journey home.

He said Maddy played around the bar when the family called on the Friday after Easter and her parents, Gerry and Kate, took photos of the family pub.

"I would keep in touch with the grandmother, Eileen, but she's gone out to Portugal to join the search so I haven't been talking to her since Easter," Mr Peoples said.

Mr Peoples said the family were popular when they lived in St Johnston.

"The whole village is devastated by the news. I have grandchildren about the same age as Maddy and it's just terrible. I hope she's found safe and well," he said.

Mr Peoples said the McCann family were regular visitors to Co Donegal and always made a point of calling at the pub.

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