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Police relaunches search for GP who went missing 10 years ago

Police in County Donegal have relaunched a search for a Northern Irish GP who went missing a decade ago.

Dr Deirdre O’Flaherty, a GP in Strabane, Northern Ireland, was reported missing in January 2009 while on holiday with her husband and children.

Her car had been parked at Kinnego beach but her body was never found, and in 2012 a court in Belfast ruled the 46-year-old mother of three had died.

In the case to use new legislation to speed up the process of declaring a missing person dead, the High Court considered evidence that Dr O’Flaherty had left notes for her children and suffered from depression, and ruled she had most likely drowned after entering the sea.

Now 10 years later, Garda officials announced they were undertaking a land search and excavation in the Milford area of County Donegal which was expected to last five days.

While no official explanation has been given for the renewed interest in the case, The Irish Times reported that a letter providing fresh information had triggered the search.

‘This development continues to form part of a missing person investigation and there is no change of status regarding same,’ a Garda spokesman said.

In 2013, the family of Dr O’Flaherty, who also used her maiden name of Donnelly, organised a running event to raise money for the rescue teams who searched the beaches, cliffs and seas for her body in hazardous weather conditions.