Garda plea in Cork ‘house of horrors’ mystery

Garda plea in Cork ‘house of horrors’ mystery
Cathal O'Brien, one of the missing men.

THE mystery surrounding the disappearance of two men from a ‘house of horrors’ case in Cork in 1994 is to be resurrected on RTÉ’s CrimeCall tonight.

Gardaí from Cork will be appealing for any information relating to the disappearance of three men from the city over a period of several months in 1994.

Cathal O’Brien, 23, from Wexford, and Kevin Ball, 42, a New Age traveller from Surrey, disappeared from their rented accommodation in Cork in April 1994.

The house on Wellington Terrace pictured in 1997.
The house on Wellington Terrace pictured in 1997.

Mr Ball disappeared first and several days later Mr O’Brien, who had been looking for him and it is believed had suspicions about what had happened to him, also went missing. Mr O’Brien, a former computer science student, had been a volunteer at a local hostel for the homeless.

Murder victim Patrick O'Driscoll.
Murder victim Patrick O'Driscoll.

A third man, Patch O’Driscoll, then disappeared. When Patch vanished in December 1994, Gardai launched one of the biggest manhunts ever witnessed in Munster. The house on Wellington Terrace, with which all three missing men had connections, was the main focus of the investigation.

After repeated appeals for information and a huge search of forests and isolated woodland adjacent to Cork city, pieces of Patch’s body were finally discovered in 1995. After the discovery of Patch’s remains, gardaí charged Fred Flannery with murdering Patch, only for the trial to collapse. There was also a court ruling that Flannery was never to be retried. He died by suicide almost a decade later.

Kevin Ball also disappeared in 1994.
Kevin Ball also disappeared in 1994.

Supt Mick Comyns of Mayfield Garda station said they would be asking the public for any information they may have on the events of 24 years ago.

“It is an appeal that we hope could lead to us finding two bodies,” he said. “Hopefully there are people who have information, that is what we are looking for.”

Seamus O’Brien, the father of Cathal, is also involved in the CrimeCall appeal. Mr O’Brien has made numerous efforts to keep his son’s case in the public eye since 1994.

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