Family visited Donegal at Easter

9 May 2007
Belfast Telegraph
Brendan McDaid

The three-year-old, who was snatched from her bed as she slept in a holiday complex in Praia da Luz last Thursday, enjoyed an Easter break in the western coastal town of Dungloe.

It has also emerged that the family of Madeleine's father, Gerry, once ran a pub in St Johnston near Donegal town. Maddy, her father, mother and two-year-old siblings Amelie and Sean visited the pub during their trip.

Joe Peoples, who took over the pub after Gerry's parents, Johnny and Eileen, moved away to start a new life in Scotland in the mid- 1960s, said everyone's thoughts were with the devastated family.

He said: It's hard to take in that they were just here a few weeks ago with the children. Gerry and the McCann family would always call in whenever they came to Ireland for a wee drink and a chat, but this was the first time Gerry and Kate were here together.

I think they were here for a week or 10 days and when they came up to visit they took a few photographs of me and the bar. The bar hasn't got a name as such because the older people would still call it McCann's and the younger people would call Joe's.

Joe said he was fond of the couple and their children, describing Madeleine affectionately as a wee devil.

And I hope the wee devil is found safe and well. She should be celebrating her fourth birthday around now, he added. I have grandchildren myself the same age and just the thought. They must be going through a terrible ordeal out there. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and we just hope now we get some good news soon.

It is understood Madeleine's paternal grandmother Eileen McCann, who has flown to Portugal to help in the search, hails from the Crowley region of west Donegal.

Portugese detectives, meanwhile, were last night following up on disturbing new evidence that a balding man was seen dragging a girl towards a marina in Lagos.

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