Irish family may have been last to see Madeleine

18 June 2007 
Evening Herald
Aoife Finneran

An Irish family may have been the last to see missing four-year-old Madeleine McCann. Today’s revelation came as Portuguese police asked the family to refrain from speaking in public about the case. The Drogheda-based family were holidaying in Portugal in the same week as the McCanns last month. On the night of Maddy’s disappearance on May 3 in Praia Da Luz, members of the family saw a child being carried by a man. It was around the time that Madeleine was taken from her parents’ apartment.  Following news of her disappearance, the family contacted Portuguese police.


They have since given statements to the authorities there. If the girl in question was Maddy, the family may have been the last people to see her. A number of people from Drogheda were holidaying in the resort at the time of Maddy’s disappearance and could hold vital clues.

The region is immensely popular with locals in the town, partly because of the connections with Gerry Fagan of Oceanico Developments. Originally from Drogheda, Gerry purchased Oceanico Developments in 2000 and moved to Portugal to run his business six years ago. He presides over an estimated €220m worth of developments in the western Algarve and his company built the 146-unit Estrela Da Luz complex in Praia Da Luz.


The apartments are just a short walk from the Ocean Club resort where Madeleine disappeared. Several Drogheda residents chose to purchase holiday homes in the area, while hundreds more make regular visits. One local representative said: “There are a lot of golf courses in the area and there could be up to 15 families in Drogheda who have bought apartments there.”

Meanwhile, Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry McCann will broaden their high-profile search into a wider campaign on the issues of child trafficking and abduction. The couple plan to mark the 50th day since Madeleine McCann disappeared with the release of 50 balloons in 50 countries. Next Friday’s event comes after a six-week tour of Europe and north Africa.

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