Belfast Telegraph

Family joy as missing woman found alive and well in Spain

By Claire Williamson

A vulnerable woman who was missing for more than a year has been found in Spain after being spotted in the street by a tourist from her home town.

Nollaig O’Connor, a devout Christian, had not been in contact with relatives since May last year.

The Enniskillen woman's family were gravely concerned for her well-being after she failed to contact them over Christmas, prompting a Facebook and Twitter campaign to try and find her.

And last night on the Help Find Nollaig O’Connor Facebook page her family revealed the 38-year-old had been found. They posted: “Confirmed sighting today — more to follow.” They added: “We can't say too much on here at the minute but this is a 100% confirmed sighting of her in mainland Europe — she is alive!

“As stated, more will follow shortly on the situation — we are so so indebted to everyone!”

Members of the family have flown to Spain in a bid to bring Nollaig back to Northern Ireland.

Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew, who has been helping the family, told how Enniskillen businessman Nicky Cassidy spotted Nollaig in Murcia, Spain.

He immediately rang friends in Northern Ireland to report he had found her.

Within hours, her brother Phil was speaking by telephone to his sister.

Ms Gildernew said she was “over the Moon”.

Her sister Aine O’Connor posted on the Facebook page expressing her “delight” at the news.

She said: “Thank you all so much! Think I’m still in shock and haven't stopped crying.”

The social media site was flooded with messages of support and joy for the family.

One posted: “Fantastic news! Please God she'll be home with you all soon!”

Nollaig had been living in Aberdeen and decided to go travelling last May.

The last sighting was when she was caught on CCTV in Cornwall.

Speaking previously, her sister Nuala said: “She has broken contact with all the family and has made no contact this Christmas. This is very uncharacteristic for Nollaig.”

Nuala said the family had no idea whether Nollaig — whose name is Irish for Christmas — was in the UK, Ireland or elsewhere in Europe.

She has a distinctive tattoo of a white cross on her forehead and was last spotted in England.

“She is a talented musician, plays violin, guitar, tin whistles and keyboard,” said Nuala previously.

“She loves to busk and play in churches. Nollaig is a great woman with such great potential and we love her and just need to know she is safe.”

Aine also thanked Ms Gildernew for helping the family track Nollaig down and to be reunited with her.

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