Maddie gran Ireland visit

12 March 2008
Michelle Nic Phaidin
But Kate and Gerry will miss annual Easter trip

The heartbroken grandmother of missing Madeleine McCann will arrive in Ireland tomorrow. But her devastated parents will not be joining her for the annual Easter trip.

Gerry and Kate McCann came to Ireland last year with their three children - but four-year-old Madeleine vanished soon after from the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz while on holiday last May 3.

Last night Donegal publican Joe Peoples said he was looking forward to a visit from Eileen McCann.

He added: "I know for a fact Eileen McCann will be here this week. She will be calling here on Thursday. "Kate and Gerry will not be with her. They have been through a lot. "I remember last year when they were here. Madeleine was with them. "Our pub is on the corner of a road so it is dangerous for children. We kept a sharp eye on them."

Last year the entire family enjoyed a great holiday in Donegal. They spent time in St Johnston where Eileen McCann's late husband Johnny is from and visited other relatives in Dungloe.

One of the last pictures taken of Maddie was of her eating ice cream beside a wall in the Rosses.

It was an annual event for the McCanns to visit the county over Easter.

The family has relatives in the quiet villages of St Johnston and Crolly in north-west Donegal.

Joe added: "Johnny passed away four years ago in 2004. Thursday will mark his fourth anniversary.

"He was cremated in England but is buried in the graveyard in St Johnston.

"Eileen will be here to get his name written on the tombstone to mark the anniversary. She will be knocking on many doors. She has a lot of old friends around here. "She will also be visiting her relations in Crolly. She is originally from that area."

Joe recalls how the McCanns enjoyed their time in the Rosses before visiting him last year. He said: "They stayed in a bed and breakfast behind Ostan na Rosann.

"They said it was a lovely place with a lovely view. It is hard to believe what happened to them. "Eileen is a lovely woman. I lease the pub from her. We love having her here."

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

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