Imelda Keenan’s disappearance remains a Waterford mystery

“As long as I’ve got air in my lungs, I’ll never give up on Imelda,” said Gerry Keenan, speaking about his sister who was last seen on Waterford’s Lombard Street on January 3rd, 1994. “I’ve got to keep going when it comes to this. I owe it to my mother and my two brothers that we’ve buried since to keep hoping that we’ll find out what actually happened to Imelda.” Gerry’s mother Liz died in 2008, with his brother Ned laid to rest three years later.
The missing Imelda Keenan: "Somebody knows what happened to her", said her brother Gerry.
Donal Keenan (a member of Army Post 27 Retired Irish Army Catering Corp) who spoke to this newspaper about Imelda’s disappearance in late 2009, died last February following a short illness. “Now we’ve two anniversaries coming so close together,” said Gerry. “Sure it’s just made a sad time of the year for our family even worse. That’s three of our family buried now, and they all left this world not knowing what happened to Imelda. And I never imagined that we’d all still be wondering what happened, 25 years later. Imelda should be here now; she’d be 47, she could well have been married and had children of her own by now. But she never got that chance. Someone took that chance from her.”
Gerry Keenan added: “I firmly believe that there are one, two, if not three people, probably still in Waterford, who either know what happened to Imelda or have information about Imelda’s disappearance. Now I don’t know how anyone could live with that information and not come forward about it; I can’t get my head around the fact that there’s someone out there who could end the 25 years of misery my family have been through over Imelda. And I’m making the appeal again now: if you have information about Imelda’s appearance, please call the Garda Confidential Line (1800-666-111). Believe me, it’s never, ever too late to do the right thing.”
Gerry Keenan was among the speakers at the sixth annual National Missing Person’s Day event which was held at Dublin’s Kings Inns on Wednesday last. “I was the first relative of a missing person to speak there – I wanted to speak first – and I got to say everything I wanted to say, which was very important for me and my family. Now I’d spoken at Mass before, but never at anything like this, so I knew I had to get it right.”
Addressing the gathering which included Justice Minister and former schoolmate Charlie Flanagan, Gerry Keenan said Imelda’s disappearance had “taken a toll on the family”, as evidenced through the deaths of his mother and brothers. “I know the three of them went to their graves with broken hearts.”
“Deep down I have a theory that there are people in Waterford, with vital information who won’t come to our assistance. We have asked them, in fact we are now begging them, to come forward now.”
Addressing those present, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said it was practically impossible to grasp the “cruel and traumatic” reality of what life is like for those wondering what became of loved ones missing for years or indeed, decades.
“We’re close on 25 years now living with this cloud over us,” said Gerry Keenan. “I wouldn’t wish what we’ve been put through as a family on anyone. The only place I can mourn Imelda is down at the bridge over John’s River where we have the plaque and I’m down there most days, still wondering what happened to my sister. Someone knows. We just wish that someone would do the decent thing and let us mourn properly for Imelda allow her the decency of a Christian burial. I have to keep hoping that someone will eventually come forward and do the honourable thing. I can’t and won’t give up. That’s the least I owe Imelda.”
We’ll have more on the disappearance of Imelda Keenan in one of our Christmas editions