Gran-of-23 just wants ‘answers’ six years after Saoirse (29) went missing from Louth home

Saoirse Smyth was last seen in Belfast on April 11 2017.

Vera Smyth the grandmother of missing woman Saoirse Smyth pictured at her home in Belfast. Photo: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press.

Saoirse Smyth: PSNI/PA Wire

Vera Smyth pictured with her son Tony at her home in Belfast. Photo: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press.

Paula MackinSunday World

It’s been six years since Saoirse Smyth disappeared presumed murdered yet the granny who reared her still can’t accept she’s dead.

Vera Smyth says her prayers every night taking comfort from the rosary beads that are never far from her hand.

She prays for her family, both alive and dead, but mostly she prays for her granddaughter’s safe return – she still cannot give up the tiny bit of hope she still clings too.

The disappearance of the troubled 29-year-old is to be probed by a TV production company investigating cold cases, a move the family has welcomed.

Details of the production has yet to be confirmed – yet the Smyth family say they are delighted their misery has not been forgotten.

And after the police closed Saoirse’s case, the family say they are hopeful fresh sets of eyes will solve the mystery of the young woman who has not been seen since January 2017.

“It has been six awful years, I know it has been that long but I still can’t stop looking at the door when it opens and hope that this day it just might be her.

”Half the time I think she’s dead but the other part of me still thinks she is out there somewhere,” Vera told the Sunday World.

“The worst thing I think is that she is in someone’s home, you know being used for sex and, when I think that, I hope she’s dead because that would be the better for her.

“I never stop thinking about her, I never will until I know what happened. In fact I don’t even need to know what happened – if she is dead just tell me where her body is,” she said.

Saoirse Smyth: PSNI/PA Wire

“Someone knows something and, if this programme about cold cases can help, we welcome it.

"We welcome any help at all because the PSNI have walked away from us as far as we are concerned, they shut my Saoirse’s case, the guards down south haven’t but still we will take all the help we can get.

“You never know, it’s been six years since she was last seen but she went somewhere after that, something happened after that and though I have imagined what, I do know that there are people out there that have the information we need.

“I’ve said this before, at this stage I don’t even want justice, I don’t want to see someone in court or in jail, none of us do.

"We are past that, we just want someone to tell us, send us an anonymous letter or something telling us where her body is and then I’ll be able to accept she is dead and give her a Christian burial like I did with her mother and sister.”

Vera Smyth pictured with her son Tony at her home in Belfast. Photo: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press.

Saoirse was last seen in Belfast on April 11 2017.

She had moved to Omeath in Co Louth and is believed to have returned there later that day, but was officially reported missing in December 2017.

Police say Saoirse, who battled drug addiction most of her life, was vulnerable and likely to have been exploited by others in the criminal underworld.

“Drugs were involved, whether is was buying or selling I don’t know but I believe it cost her her life – for whatever reason we will never know,” Tony added.

Vera’s health has steadily declined due to the heartache she carries with her every day, and she is now almost completely blind.

Vera – a grandmother of 23 and great grandmother of 11 – relies on her son Tony to help her through the days – he sees first hand the suffering his mother endures every waking hour.

“She has endured so much heartbreak, more than anyone in a life.

"She has lost children and grandchildren, her husband and now she feels as if people have given up hope on finding Saoirse.

“Personally I know she is dead but what my Ma needs is someone to come forward and let her bury the child,” Tony told the Sunday World.

“You never know, the cold case company might be able shine a light on something, find a wee chink and let us – my Ma especially – lay her to rest. Any help in that is appreciated, any help from anyone is appreciated,” he said.

Tony also hit out at the PSNI, baffled as to why they would close his niece’s case.

“That I don’t understand at all. As far as I’m concerned they are not doing their jobs because when I was working in England a female detective rang me and told me that Saoirse was dead.

“I asked her how she knew and she said they had plenty of experience in cases like this.

“Because her account had not been touched, she was still receiving benefits and not collecting. I get that but if they think she’s dead then it is murder. Why are they not looking for her killer or killers in the North?

“The guards in the south have not closed their case. We feel as if we and Saoirse have been forgotten,” Tony added.

Police believe Saoirse may have lost her life at the hands of one of the ruthless cartels involved in the gangland violence gripping border areas and the Republic.

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