Body exhumed in Wales confirmed as that of Irishman who mysteriously disappeared 33 years ago

Body exhumed in Wales confirmed as that of Irishman who mysteriously disappeared 33 years ago

A BODY that was buried in Wales after washing up on a beach in the country in 1985 has been confirmed as that of missing Irishman Joseph Brendan Dowley.

Alan Dowley confirmed to RTÉ News that DNA samples from the body are a ‘one in a billion’ match with his family, confirming the remains are those of his father.

The local coroner in North Wales, Dewi Pritchard Jones, has been informed of the DNA match and will now schedule an inquest.


Alan Dowley, a retired Garda, previously revealed how his father moved to England in the 1980s in search of work.

Mr Dowley, 63, was last seen in October 1985 when he was driven to Dun Laoghaire to catch a ferry back to Britain after a visit to his family in Kilkenny.

Three weeks after the London-based Irishman’s disappearance, a body washed ashore at Rhosneigr beach, a few miles south of Holyhead in Wales.

At the time it was not believed to be Mr Dowley and was buried at Menai Bridge cemetery in Anglesey.

Retired garda Alan Dowley and inset, his father Joseph Brendan Dowley

However earlier this year, North Wales Police – working with the Missing Persons Bureau and the gardaí – determined there was a strong possibility the remains were those of the Irishman.

A local Catholic priest conducted a graveside blessing before the body was exhumed in June so that DNA samples could be extracted.

Speaking at the time, DC Don Kenyon of North Wales Police said: “If the identity is confirmed by HM Coroner, we hope to reunite Mr Dowley with his family as soon as possible to grant them the dignity and comfort of a full funeral service.”

The investigation was carried out as part of the force’s Operation Orchid, in which detectives use the latest DNA technology to identify human remains discovered in the region over the last five decades.