Fiona Pender's brother tells tragic family story on Ryan Tubridy Show

Justin Kelly

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Justin Kelly

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Fiona Pender's brother tells tragic family story on Ryan Tubridy Show

Fiona Pender

22 years on from the disappearance of his beloved sister Fiona, Tullamore's John Pender was the guest of Ryan Tubridy on his RTE Radio 1 show on Wednesday morning.

John told the Late Late host about the hurt caused by the disappearance of Fiona in August 1996, and the tragic set of circumstances that have befallen his family in the years since.

The family had not long been hit by the death of John and Fiona's brother Mark in a road crash in Killeigh in 1995 when Fiona vanished from her apartment in Tullamore. Less than four years later, John father took his own life, while his mother Josephine, a long-time campaigner for answers in her daughter's case, passed away after an illness in 2017.

Speaking to Ryan Tubridy, John first spoke of his love for his sister, Fiona. “She was a bright and bubbly, a part-time model and hairdresser. She was a great sister to me and I have so many good memories of her. There was a bond there."

He went on to detail her disappearance, saying the family realised something was "very wrong" within five days, "when we had exhausted all the avenues, all of the possible places she could have been."

“It slowly dawned on us that something horrible had happened," he added.

While John recognises it is unlikely Fiona's body will be found, he vowed never to give up working on keeping her case in the public eye. He said finding her body "would give us a sense of respect."

“I feel that the nation wants answers at this stage. I think everyone wants to see us with a body to mourn," he continued.

John also recalled the heartbreak he experienced when discovering his father who has taken his own life in 2000. John was still a teenager at the time, and remembers ringing an ambulance with his mother.

“We rang an ambulance. We had a chance to give him CPR. I’ll never forget that moment the paramedics that came, they let me work on him as a chance to process. I realised that he was there too long."

“He couldn’t deal with the loss of his kids. It was too much for him," John remarked of his heartbroken father.

John's appearance on Ryan Tubridy's marked another high-profile media appearance in 2018.

Earlier this year, John contributed to a new 3-minute documentary recounting his own life and the loss of his sister.

John Pender says the documentary, entitled, 'My Sister Fi, "was not an easy thing to make but in the end it was well worth it."

"I was true and honest to my recollection of things and now it's time to share this with whoever wants to take to the time to watch it." The documentary has received over 50,000 views on Facebook.

You can listen to John's full interview with Ryan Tubridy by clicking here.