Garda divers searching the canal. Picture Michael Scully
A search is underway, including of a section of the Grand Canal, for a man from the Midlands who Gardaí suspect was murdered.
Gardaí investigating the whereabouts of Mr William Delaney (56), of Fieldbrook, Portlaoise began a search early on Monday morning, November 18 on lands around Grand Canal on the outskirts of Monsaterevin in Co Kildare.
Gardaí, assisted by the Irish Army engineering corps, estimate the search could take up to five days due to the nature of the terrain. The Garda Sub Aqua Unit is on the scene to assist.
Mr Delaney was reported missing by his family in late January this year. The last definitive sighting was in Monasterevin at a house near the Hazel Hotel on January 30. The last recorded signal from his mobile phone was in the Monasterevin area on the same date.
An individual, who is not a suspect in the inquiry, has told Gardaí that the last occasion he met Mr Delaney was around 2.30pm on Wednesday, January 30. Gardaí are understood to be following up on this information and not new material evidence.
Portlaoise Gardaí are leading the murder inquiry and search for Mr Delaney.
Portlaoise District Garda Superintendent Anthony Petit appealed to anybody who may have been in Monasterevin on January 30 and who may recall seeing anything to contact them at 057 8674100.
Anyone with information can also ring the Garda Confidential Telephone Number 1800 666 111 or any Garda station.
This is the second significant search for Mr Delaney. Gardaí and soldiers extensively combed an area around the Rock of Dunamaise between Portlaoise and Stradbally in June. Two people were arrested at the time.
No trace of the missing man was uncovered during the Dunamaise search and the individuals arrested were released without charge after questioning.
However, the inquiry was upgraded from a missing person investigation to a murder inquiry at the time.
Mr Delaney's family have made a number of public appeals for information on the missing man.
It was originally thought that he was last seen in Portlaoise town centre on January 23.
Mr Delaney is originally from Tipperary but had been living in Portlaoise with family at the time he went missing.