Concern is mounting over the safety of a 30-year-old pregnant woman who has not been seen since last Thursday.

A native of Cashel, Ballyronan, Aoife Phelan was last seen when she visited a friend near her home in Portlaoise on Thursday evening. Her phone, bank and Facebook records show no activity since then.

The alarm was raised on Friday morning, when the nanny failed to show up for her childminding job. Later that day her family reported her missing.

Police are concerned for the well being of the woman and have appealed to the public for information on her whereabouts.

A senior source told the Evening Herald: "We are not ruling out anything and we are keeping an open mind. There are big concerns for the safety of Aoife."

On Wednesday, members of the Garda Water Unit searched a lake close to the spot where she was last seen,

Her father Michael said the family are extremely worried. He told the Herald: "We have no clue where she is or what has happened."

Aoife's mother Betty said she had not been acting in a strange manner.

“She was in good humour, no sign of distress or anything like that,” Betty told the Irish Independent.

“She's a very bubbly person and it is totally out of character for Aoife not to have been in contact with some of her family, so we are very, very concerned at the moment.

"Aoife, if you are out there somewhere, please contact us.”

Speaking at a press conference, Superintendent Yvonne Lundon said their search was ongoing.

Supt Lundon said: “We are investigating all avenues in relation to information that is forthcoming and we have conducted a number of inquiries with a wide range of people who have come forward to us.

“We have conducted a number of searches and those searches are ongoing.”

Aoife is described as around 5ft 7ins in height, of slim build, with long blonde/sandy-coloured hair and blue eyes.

Anyone who can assist is asked to contact Portlaoise Garda Station on 057-8674100, the Garda Confidential Telephone Line 1800 666 111 or any garda station.

Aoife Phelan was last seen when she visited a friend near her home in Portlaoise last Thursday eveningHandout