Northern Ireland

Ruth Maguire search: Body recovered from Carlingford Lough

Ruth Maguire Image copyright Shauna McNeill/ Cooley Community Alert
Image caption Ruth Maguire travelled to Carlingford on Saturday

A body has been found in the search for a County Down woman missing after a hen party in the Republic of Ireland.

Ruth Maguire, 30, a mother of three, travelled to Carlingford, County Louth, on Saturday, to celebrate with friends.

The Newcastle woman was reported missing on Sunday morning after she failed to return from their night out.

A search operation involving the RNLI, coastguard and divers from a local club has now ended following the discovery of a body in Carlingford Lough.

Police said they believed the body was that of the missing woman.

Ms Maguire, who was originally from Belfast, was part of a 32-strong group who had travelled to Carlingford to celebrate a forthcoming wedding.

'Out of character'

The group was staying at a house in the town and realised Ms Maguire had not returned after midnight.

One of her friends told BBC News NI that her disappearance was "completely out of character".

Friends had appealed for anyone with CCTV footage around the harbour area to check it.

Kilkeel RNLI recovered the body following a major search effort involving several RNLI and coastguard teams, Dundalk sub-aqua club divers, the Rescue 116 helicopter, Irish Coast Guard's all-weather boat and foot unit.

Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption A body was recovered around lunchtime on Monday

John Fisher, from Kilkeel RNLI, said: "This was not the outcome we or the family wanted and at this difficult time our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the casualty.

"I would also like to thank the volunteer crew for their commitment and energy. We train for such an incident but always pray that it has a better outcome."