A chance discovery has uncovered the long missing remains of an Irish politician and businessman reported missing 23 years ago.

William (Bill) Fennessy was last seen on March 30, 1990. Now a DNA test has confirmed that the remains found in the wreckage of a car hidden underwater for decades are his.

The sunken car was discovered on November 29 in the River Blackwater in Fermoy, County Cork, but it was only this week that Irish police were able to confirm the remains were of missing 54-year-old.

According to the Irish Examiner, Fennessy had run a successful pub, an auctioneers and undertaking business in Fermoy for many years.

Divers from the Blackwater Sub Aqua Search and Rescue Unit undertaking a routine exercise in the river were startled to come across the rusted remains of a car.

The vehicle was reportedly about ten feet below the surface and buried in silt. Police cordoned off the area after the discovery.

Supervised by the police the divers returned to the scene and retrieved fragments of bone from the wreckage.

Although the vehicle was corroded police believed it was probably the Daihatsu Charade owned by Fennessy, a former Labour Party councillor. There was no sign of the 32 ZIF drivers registration plate to confirm it was the missing car.

After the discovery of the remains, an older brother of Fennessy volunteered to provide a DNA sample. When the results proved positive, police immediately notified Fennessy's family, including his wife Noreen and a number of her children.

The announcement reportedly brought some relief to the bereaved family. Foul play is not suspected.

* Originally published in May 2013.