Donegal visit for McCann family

19 February 2008
The Irish News
Seamus McKinney

A Co Donegal publican says he's looking forward to a visit from the parents of missing child, Madeleine McCann this Easter. Kate and Gerry McCann are understood to be planning an Easter holiday in west Donegal almost one year after four-year-old Maddie, pictured, went missing while on a family holiday in Portugal.

The couple have strong links with the Dungloe area in west Donegal as well as the village of St Johnston near the Donegal/Derry border. Last night, publican Joe Peoples said he was looking forward to seeing the family as they pass through St Johnston on their way to a holiday home in Dungloe.

Mr Peoples, who runs a pub in St Johnston which is owned by tragic Maddie's grandmother, Eileen, said: "I imagine they'll call either on their way here or when they're heading back home. They always do."

Weeks before Maddie went missing at the start of May last year, the entire family called with Mr Peoples at the end of the Donegal Easter holiday. One of the pictures used during the search for the youngster was of Maddie enjoying an ice cream while on holiday in Co Donegal.

In the last year, doctors Gerry and Kate McCann have had to undergo the trauma of losing their daughter and then being named as suspects in her disappearance. The couple are still official suspects in the case.

In Dungloe, they are still assured of a warm welcome. Dungloe parish priest, Fr Seamus Meehan led prayers for little Maddie following her disappearance last May.

Local woman and family friend, Katriona Fernandez helped raise a staggering EUE54,000 for the campaign to find the missing youngster.

In St Johnston, Mr Peoples said he has not been in touch with the McCann family in recent months but was sure they would be welcomed to the east Donegal town when they arrive.

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