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Missing Achill man’s family angry as Dutch police close case

Missing Achill man’s family angry as Dutch police close case

Anton McNulty

THE family of missing Achill man JP Grealis are considering legal action against the Dutch Police, who last month closed the investigation into his disappearance. The family want the Dutch authorities to re-open his case, and have expressed their anger at a five-page investigative report into his disappearance.
Four years almost to the date after JP’s disappearance, the Dutch authorities informed the Grealis family that they were closing the case, claiming there were no leads to follow and that there was no sign of criminal involvement.
JP, a carpenter from Tonragee, Achill, disappeared without a trace after he left a guesthouse in the Dutch town of Breda to look for work on October 23, 2008. The Dutch police initially failed to investigate the disappearance to the Grealis family’s satisfaction. Over the years, the  Grealises have been fighting a constant battle with the Dutch authorities to get the case investigated with the rigour they want.
A breakthrough of sorts occurred earlier in the year when the Dutch authorities began an investigation into the disappearance following a demonstration outside the Dutch Embassy in Dublin last March. However the family were informed in October that the case was now closed. However, they do not believe a thorough investigation took place.
Helen Grealis, sister of JP told The Mayo News that their lawyer in the Netherlands was looking at other avenues to ensure the case is re-opened.
“I think this was just a formal exercise by the Dutch Police following the pressure the Irish Government put on them and they can now say they formally did it. A five-page report does not amount to a proper investigation. It seems to be the culture there, there are a number of missing people whose cases are not taken seriously if they are not a Dutch national.
“Our lawyer is looking to see what he can do in the legal process to put pressure on the Dutch authorities to maybe get police from another district to investigate. There are similar cases which are going to the courts and we will look into that further.
“We [the family] have exhausted all avenues [in the search for JP] and there is nothing more we can do. It is up to the police to look into it further, we are not capable of doing it. We can talk to the people who last saw JP but it is up to the Police to investigate if they are telling the truth,” she said.
In the four years since JP went missing, the Grealis family has employed the services of a cold-case team consisting of a retired detective, a criminal psychologist and a well-known local crime reporter. A €20,000 reward for information into JP’s disappearance was also offered. However, no concrete leads came out of that investigation.
Helen said although the family has received no fresh information in two years, they will never give up their search. However, she said these setbacks are difficult for the family, especially at this time of the year.
“This is a horrible time of the year for us. The Christmas and the winter always reminds us of our feelings when JP went missing and it is hard. We have to deal with that feeling every year. If we had answers we might be able to deal with it better.”

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