The body of a man found in Galway in 2014 is that of a Polish national, gardai have said.
The man’s body was discovered in Rusheen Bay Woods at Barna on September 27 that year.
He was found in the coastal area by another man walking his dog.
Gardai said the death was originally treated as a personal tragedy and that, as he had no form of identification and very few items in his possession, it was not possible to establish his identity.
The family and An Garda Siochana are grateful to the individuals who came forward to provide us with the key to solving this matterSuperintendent Patrick McHugh
Extensive efforts were made by gardai to confirm who the man was, including searches of local and international databases for missing persons.
Fingerprinting and dental examinations were carried out, while a facial reconstruction was also completed by Dr Christopher Rynn from the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification at the University of Dundee, in Scotland.
Numerous media appeals were issued at various stages during the intervening months and years.
Among the man’s possessions when located, was a single silver key with EPA inscribed on it, Sterling and Euro currency, as well as a Canadian/USA watch and clothing believed to have been bought in the United States/Canada.
Gardai said the silver key had helped unlock the mystery of the man’s identity.
Two Polish people had contacted gardai in recent weeks after only becoming aware of the previous appeals and told them a Polish man had been living with them in a house in Galway for a brief period in late September 2014, and had advised them to rent his room out after a certain period of time if he did not return.
Since that time, the men had changed the locks in their home but had retained the old locking mechanism.
Gardai were able to confirm that the key, which had been found on the deceased man, was a match to this locking mechanism.
This led to a definite line of enquiry as to the person’s identity and a DNA comparison was conducted via Interpol in Poland, confirming the man to be a Polish national.
The man’s relatives have been contacted and a file will now be prepared for the county coroner.
Superintendent Patrick McHugh said: “Great credit is due to the dedicated gardai who have been working this case to establish the identity of this man since 2014.
“The circumstances of this case are both sad and tragic.
“The family and An Garda Siochana are grateful to the individuals who came forward to provide us with the key to solving this matter.
“Taking the crucial step of contacting the gardai has ensured that this man’s family are now aware of the whereabouts of their loved one.”