Irish police believe the “seriously decomposed” human remains discovered by a walker outside Ferns, in County Wexford, are those of an Italian woman in her 50s who had been living a nomadic lifestyle in Ireland.

The Irish Times reports that police believe the remains were those of “an Italian woman in her 50s who was leading a nomadic existence, traveling around Ireland.”

The remains were discovered by a woman walking her dogs shortly after 11.30am on Monday, Jan 7, at Ballyandrew townland, 6km northwest of Ferns and 13km southeast of Bunclody, in County Wexford. Police immediately launched an investigation into the death.

The Irish Sun now reports that the police believe the remains are those of a female foreign national and said that no attempt had been made to conceal the body. They also report that it has not been determined whether the woman died at the scene or elsewhere.

A source told the newspaper “The remains are female and gardai are fairly confident that they are of a foreign national.

“There have been no reports of missing people in the area for some time, which would suggest that the remains are not that of a local.”

A post-mortem is expected to be carried out on Tuesday, Jan 8, by Assistant State Pathologist, Dr. Linda Mulligan, who traveled to the site to begin her examination.

Irish police told the Irish Times they’re keeping an open mind and that the course of their investigation will be determined by the results of the postmortem.

The remains were quite literally skeletal, save some long black hair. It’s believed that the body was located in this roadside location for some months.

The body has not been formally identified. Police may need the help of a forensic anthropologist and may need to resort to checking detail records to confirm her identity.

However, the gardai (Irish police) found a rucksack close by which contained the resume of an Italian woman in her 50s. She was known to have been living rough and traveling around Ireland. She was known to the police as several members of the public had expressed concern about her nomadic lifestyle.

This Italian woman was last sighted in 2017 by police. However, police have no missing persons reports for the woman. Irish police are now liaising with Interpol, with the view to Italian police making contact with the woman’s family to check when they last heard from her and whether they were aware of her whereabouts.

Local Fine Gael politician Anthony Donoghue said the discovery was a “tragedy” but hoped it would offer “closure” to a grieving family once the remains are identified.

Donoghue said “It is a rural area, so it has come as quite a shock.

“It is not something that would be expected to occur on a normal week. From what I heard, it was skeletal remains that have been found, so the person was obviously missing for quite a long time.

“It is a tragedy for some family, but hopefully it will answer some questions for some poor family out there that have lost a loved one down through the years.”

Pip Breen a local Fianna Fáil politician said “It is all speculation at this moment.

"People are just waiting to hear of further developments.

“Everybody is only second guessing for something at this stage but anytime someone dumps a body it’s not good and that person has no respect for anyone.

“I presume the bones are quite old, so it is very hard to see how a body could lie on the side of road for so long and not be discovered or seen — if they are that old, they would have to have been moved there recently.”

Police have appealed to the public for assistance and anyone who has any information or who can assist is asked to contact Enniscorthy Garda station on + 353 (0) 53-9242580.

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