Despite receiving a petition with 12,500 signatures to name the new bridge over the Grand Canal in Tullamore after missing woman Fiona Pender, Tullamore Town Council again voted against the proposal at their meeting on Thursday evening.
Independent Councillor Sean O’Brien had sought a public consultation period and for the council to look again at the policy. He was supported by Sinn Fein Councillor Brendan Killeavy however the members voted by seven votes to two to support a counter proposal which stated that the Fiona Pender Bridge Campaign should consult with the relevant committee about a suitable memorial and or a bursary for a future hairdresser.
A large group of supporters of the campaign to name the bridge after Fiona held a vigil before the meeting and while the meeting was on going.
Fiona has been missing from her home at Church Street, Tullamore, on August 22 1996. At that time she was seven months pregnant and had spent the previous day shopping for baby clothes with her mother in Tullamore. She was in good form and was looking forward to the birth of her baby.
The disappearance of the popular hairdresser led to the largest Garda operation ever seen in the Tullamore area.
Air Corps helicopters searched over the Slieve Bloom mountains, while tracker dogs were also used in searching Offaly bogs.
Sub-aqua divers searched in the Grand Canal and the Tullamore River. Fiona’s friends in the UK, the United States, Germany and Italy were contacted, and the help of Interpol and London’s Metropolitan Police enlisted.