Reporting a missing person

Introduction

Many people are reported missing each year in Ireland. In most cases, going missing does not involve a crime.

An adult may choose to leave home without telling anyone for a number of reasons:

  • To escape domestic violence
  • To take some time out because they are struggling to cope
  • Because they are angry or upset
  • Because they feel they have nowhere to turn

You can report a person missing if you cannot contact them and you are concerned about their safety or wellbeing. You do not have to wait 24 hours before making a report.

How to report a missing person

You report a person missing by contacting the Gardaí. They will ask you for information about the missing person, including:

  • Their full name
  • Their place and date of birth
  • A description of them
  • Details of where and when they were last seen
  • A list of their friends, relatives and colleagues
  • A list of places where they often go
  • Their bank and credit card details
  • Details of medications they use
  • Details of social media accounts they use
  • Their mobile phone number

You should also give the Gardaí a recent photograph of the missing person – in electronic format if possible.

The National Missing Person Helpline has information about practical things you can do to look for a missing person.

What to expect from An Garda Síochána

The Gardaí will assess the level of risk and determine the best course of action. There are different types of missing person cases and the Gardaí may involve other agencies, such as the HSE, Mountain Rescue teams or Civil Defence where necessary,

You should expect your report to be fully investigated. The investigation starts when you first make your missing person report.

The Gardaí may issue a press release with details of the missing person if they believe this will assist in their enquiries. Where a child is missing and abduction is suspected, the Gardaí may issue a Child Rescue Alert.

Child Rescue Ireland Alert (CRI Alert)

A Child Rescue Alert (pdf) is used to alert the public to a child abduction and to appeal for help. It is based on an agreement between the Gardaí, the media (including some social media networks) and broadcasters and is designed to get information about a missing child out to the public as soon as possible. The Gardaí may issue a CRI Alert where:

  • The child is under 18
  • There is a reasonable belief that the child was abducted
  • There is a reasonable belief that there is an immediate and serious risk to the health and wellbeing of the child
  • There is enough information for the public to be able to help the Gardaí in finding the child

The Garda Press Office issues frequent updates on a CRI alert until the Alert is cancelled.

Missing persons abroad

If a friend or relative has gone missing in another country, you should still report it to the Gardaí. The Gardaí can report the case to Interpol who can coordinate searches for missing persons internationally.

The Irish embassy or consulate in the country where the person was last seen can put you in touch with authorities and organisations that can help with a search. It cannot investigate or carry out searches. This is the responsibility of the local police forces.

EU and international agreements are in place to coordinate policing when a child is abducted and taken abroad.

Further information and contacts

The Garda website has details of missing adults and the Global Missing Children’s Network has information on missing children.

The National Missing Persons Helpline can offer advice and support on 1890 442552.

Page edited: 22 April 2021