Not Forgotten | 

Brother of Ireland’s longest missing man engraves name on family headstone in tribute

James ‘Jimmy’ O'Neill vanished without a trace 10 days before Christmas from his Waterford city home on December 15, 1947.

James 'Jimmy' O'Neill was aged just 16 when he vanished without trace

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

The name of Ireland’s longest missing man has been engraved on his family’s headstone in Co Waterford.

James ‘Jimmy’ O'Neill vanished without a trace 10 days before Christmas from his Waterford city home on December 15, 1947.

He was aged just 16 at the time and has never been heard from or seen since - making him Ireland's longest missing people case. He would be 91 today.

His younger brother Frank, who was just five years old at the time of his disappearance, told Newstalk this week that Jimmy’s name has been added to their family’s headstone in Ballygunner, Waterford.

Frank said that he hopes the tribute will show that the search for Jimmy never stopped and his brother was never forgotten.

“If Jimmy had any family, they might come back here and see that I never forgot him,” he said.

Frank previously told of how Jimmy never came home from work the day he went missing.

"He had a half day and never came home, and apparently my mother had the dinner and all ready for him."

He said that his brother may have made his way to Liverpool and travelled from there on to New York, but even though an 'SOS' was placed in local newspapers at the time there was never a result.

Frank said his brother’s disappearance devastated his family.

"It broke my parent's heart - both of them - it killed them in the long run.

"It shortened their lives, because even on my mother's deathbed there was one lady said to me - called me that morning - a lady that was in the ward with my mother.

"And she said to me 'Who's Jimmy?', I said 'That's my brother who went missing' and she said 'That's who your mother was crying for all night'".

Frank is now 79 but he still hopes to get closure before he dies.

"If there's someone outside, or anywhere, that have any little bit of a description - or anywhere abouts know any knowledge of where my brother's missing - I would deeply appreciate to know,” he said previously.

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