THE family of an Irishman who vanished from a rural Australian village in ‘suspicious’ circumstances has come forward.
Paddy Moriarty, 70, disappeared from a hotel in the small village of Larrimah, Northern Territory on December 16 last year.
Larrimah is a small community of 13 people about six hours south of Darwin.
Police are treating Mr Moriarty’s disappearance as a suspicious missing persons case, and some people in the local area believe he has been murdered.
His dog ‘Kellie’, a 12-month-old red Kelpie, is also missing.
Mr Moriarty came to Australia in 1966 as a teenager on the Fairstar ship from Britain, and then worked as a stockman on the territory stations.
Police had previously been unable to trace any family of the missing man in Australia or Ireland, where he was born.
But after Mr Moriarty’s disappearance was featured by Sean O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio 1, a group of people claiming to be his relatives have now come forward.
Among them is Mae Screeney, who believes she is the cousin of the Irishman’s mother, Mary Theresa.
Mary, who was from Abbeyfeale in Co. Limerick, passed away in 1995 and there is no father listed on Mr Moriarty’s birth certificate.
Speaking to Australia’s ABC News, Ms Screeney said Moriarty may have been adopted after being born out of wedlock.
"Mary obviously called him Patrick Joseph because that was the family name," she said.
"Nobody knows of this child, so what happened to Patrick Moriarty? He wasn't bought up around Abbeyfeale.
"None of our family know anything about him."
Northern Territory police have requested DNA samples from the group to establish whether they are truly blood relatives.
Officers have questioned all 13 of Larrimah’s residents, including some who were known to have a long-running feud with the missing Irishman.
Detectives have also spoken to hundreds of others after the case garnered international media attention, including in Ireland and the UK.
Police have been working with An Garda Síochána and Interpol in attempt to solve the mystery of Mr Moriarty’s “suspicious” disappearance.