Northern Ireland

Family searches River Lagan for Joby Murphy

Joby Murphy
Image caption Joby Murphy has been missing since a night out in Belfast

The father of a man believed to have drowned in Belfast's River Lagan after a night out has said the family has searched the river in a boat for him.

Two weeks after the tragedy, Joby Murphy's body has still not been found.

His father Joe said he would not wish what he has gone through the last two weeks on anyone.

Mr Murphy said the official search for his son has been scaled back, so the family are to search the river themselves on Saturday and Sunday.

"The search seems to have wound down quite a bit, which is a bit annoying, it's something to do with the tide," Mr Murphy said.

"We took a boat out ourselves - there's a Titanic tour boat - they took us out a couple of days ago and he's taking us out on Saturday and Sunday."

The family is held a candlelight vigil on Friday night on the foot-bridge that Joby fell from.

Image caption Joe Murphy is continuing to search for his son

Mr Murphy said the pain of the last two weeks had been unbearable.

"I'll never forget the policeman coming to the door and I knew right away.

"I didn't want to let him in, I didn't want to hear it, I was going to close the door on him. It's just your worst nightmare," he said.

"Joby always had a smile on his face for everybody.

"I'm not just saying that, all the letters and all the cards we're getting are saying the same thing - we're going to miss your smile. He was just jovial all the time."

Mr Murphy has admitted his son was very drunk on the night he fell into the Lagan. The club he had been in had been having a cheap drink promotion.

On Wednesday, Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland said he would move to ban some such promotions in Northern Ireland.

"I was absolutely delighted to hear that, absolutely delighted," Mr Murphy said.

"You hear about ministers and they're going to do this and they're going to do that, or they might do this or that, but he seems to be pushing this forward. I think the sooner the better."

Meanwhile Colin Neill of Pubs of Ulster, the representative body of the pub trade in Northern Ireland, has said it will move to discipline bars or clubs holding "irresponsible" drinks promotions.

"Any member of Pubs of Ulster that in our opinion engages in irresponsible promotions, will now be subject to an internal review based on their actions," it said.

"I will also be meeting with my board in the coming days to discuss how these venues can and should be disciplined."

Image caption Joby is believed to have fallen from this foot bridge

Mr Murphy said alcohol was replacing drugs as parents' main fear for children going out at night.

"People have their own stories and their own fears when their children go out now," he said.

"You used to think drugs, but now it's drink, it's frightening."

However he said the support the family had received since Joby's disappearance had helped them.

"All the love that people have shown has just lifted me, people have been so kind," he said.

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