Donegal welcome for dropping of suspect status

23 July 2008
Belfast Telegraph
Anita Guidera

Friends and relatives of the McCann family in Donegal yesterday welcomed news that the Portuguese authorities are no longer treating the parents as suspects in the disappearance of toddler Madeleine over a year ago.

Joe Peoples, who runs a pub in the east Donegal village of St Johnston which Madeleine and her parents Kate and Gerry visited just weeks before her disappearance in Portugal, said: "It doesn't surprise me at all that they are in the clear."

Joe, who rents the pub from Madeleine's grandmother, Eileen McCann, added: "At the same time, people in these parts will be thrilled for Eileen.

"She's had to tolerate so much pain. Not alone was the little granddaughter she loved missing, but for the police to say her own son was a suspect was an unnecessary added burden."

Mr Peoples said he could see clearly the suffering Eileen was still going through over the loss of her grand-daughter. "Eileen is the sort of person who can put on a brave face, but I've noticed her terribly drawn compared to last year," he said.

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