Kilteel unites in hope and keeps on searching for Cormac Clare

THERE was a stillness, an ambivalence, to the image that was a little unsettling.

THERE was a stillness, an ambivalence, to the image that was a little unsettling.

An aerial photograph of Kilteel, at least three-and-a-half feet wide, was spread across a hip-high platform extension to the the stage in two overlapping sections.

Probably taken in high summer, the shadows of the taller trees- had fallen across hedgerows in diagonal columns and into neighbouring fields.

The ribbon residential development of the area was clear as were the location of roads, the dense darker areas of forestry and the stunning greenness of the fields artificially enhanced by sunlight.

Here and there a farm building appeared, confirming that this is a pre-dominantly agricultural area.

An urge to study the picture for a trace of Cormac Clare or a clue as to where he might be was compelling as it was probably pointless.

It’s not likely that the 18 year old Leaving Certificate student was in Kilteel was by late last week.

Since the afternoon of October 22, a methodical search of the area involving up to 170 people during daylight hours has been taking place.

Headquartered at Kilteel Hall, the searchers leaders used the aerial photograph and a detailed enlarged ordnance survey map to organise the search for the second-born son of Seamus and Lorraine Clare.

Fields and wooded areas have been scanned and very many local people have taken part; some during the day and returning again after children have been collected from school.

For safety reasons the experienced personnel of the Dublin and Wicklow and Glen of Imaal Mountain Rescue have undertaken some searches unassisted and they also worked at night.

The undulating terrain poses a challenge as did the wet and misty weather conditions which prevailed for part of last week.

Cormac was last seen in his bungalow home at 2am on October 22 and when his family woke up, he was missing.

According to the gardai there have been a number of possible sightings but nothing has been confirmed.

Naas CBS, where he is a sixth year student, was visited by Gardai in the search for leads.

The Gardai and Civil Defence are also coordinating the search, which has gradually spread out from the Clare family home, to places where it as known he frequented.

The search moved outwards like a ripple, covering an area of 50 metres and then a 1,000 metres and then beyond.

Special attention was paid to where water had gathered and the search has been backed up by gardai specialising in water searches as well are the Garda Air Support Unit.

The support of the local community has been evident from the outset.

Kilteel, on the Kildare-Dublin border is a curious mix of local people and recently-arrived commuters living in hacienda-style houses within easy striking distance of the city; those who use four wheel drives out of necessity and those who drive them for fun.

They came together last week in the desperate bid to find clues to Cormac’s disappearance.

There was any amount of food available within the hall and more than enough people to distribute it as the searchers came and went.

The rain, fog and mist has hindered the search at times and there have been offers from the public to make aircraft available to assist the search.

You sense that nothing much happens in Kilteel most of the time, but the hall was a hive of activity as the search continued.

It was apparent too that there there was a strong willingness to help as well as a sense of helplessness.

There was a determination too as people returned again and again to the starting point that is Kilteel Hall.

The hope is that Cormac will return and with him, normality.

The kind of routine normality that jumped out from a notice lying close to the aerial picture.

It read: “Kilteel/Eadestown Comhaltas AGM in Kilteel Hall October 18 at 8 pm.

“Please come and support your branch.”

- Paul O’Meara