family's heartache 'My kids shouldn't carry the burden of searching for Jo Jo,' says sister
A sister of Kilkenny woman Jo Jo Dullard, who went missing 25 years ago this week, does not want her children or grandchildren to carry the burden of trying to find her remains for the rest of their lives.
Jo Jo (21) was last seen at about 11.37pm on November 9, 1995, when she left the village of Moone, Co Kildare while trying to make her way home to Callan, Co Kilkenny.
Last month, gardaí upgraded the investigation into her disappearance to a murder probe, while this week they renewed their appeal for information.
Speaking from her home just outside Callan, Kathleen, now a grandmother, said: "We want to find her with all our being but it has been very tough at times.
"In the early years, I found it difficult to visit the plaque that was put up in Moone, where Jo Jo was last seen.
"At times I found it difficult to speak about Jo Jo but I never gave up looking for answers and trying to bring Jo Jo home.
"It has been physically and mentally draining on all of us for so long and being honest we have been living on autopilot for a lot of theses years."
Speaking about her other siblings, she said: "It devastated them and made them heartbroken.
"Mary, who died only two years ago, kept saying she didn't do enough to find Jo Jo even in her final days, but she honestly couldn't have done anymore.
"Mary accepted that Jo Jo was never going to be coming home alive again, before I did, but she gave her life to finding Jo Jo again.
"I think of my own children and I don't want them to carry on that burden of having to keep looking for Jo Jo and hoping that she will be able to complete her journey home.
"This has been such a weight on our shoulders and I and they don't want to be here in the same position 20 years from now."
Jo Jo was the youngest of five siblings and now just two are alive, Kathleen and her sister Nora.
When speaking about the upgrading of her sister being classed as a missing person to that of being murdered, Kathleen revealed she had "accepted" that she had been taken in a violent way a long time ago.
"It is bitter sweet that Jo Jo is now classed as being a murdered person but it does give the gardaí more power to arrest individuals and more resources."
Mrs Bergin added that she believes the family is the "closest it has ever been'" to finding Jo Jo but that "we are all trying not to get our hopes up too much and "but we really do hope we will be lucky this time.
Mrs Bergin revealed that the dedicated garda team have received an influx of calls since his sister's disappearance was upgraded to a murder investigation last month.
Gardaí are appealing to anyone that met, saw, or has any information in relation to the murder of Jo Jo to come forward.
Download the Sunday World app