Gardaí investigating the disappearance of a man in Co Monaghan 18 years ago have confirmed that the man's car has been found in a lake in Co Fermanagh.

The discovery of the vehicle was made as part of searches for 54-year-old Michael 'Tony' Lynch.

The father-of-four was last seen in Clones at around 6pm on Sunday 6 January, 2002.

Mr Lynch’s car, a white Mitsubishi Galant, also disappeared at that time.

Gardaí have confirmed that yesterday police divers with the Police Service of Northern Ireland recovered the vehicle from the bottom of Lough Corradilar near Lisnaskea.

There is no suggestion of foul play involved in Mr Lynch's disappearance.

It is understood the car is full of silt and a forensic examination of the vehicle is being conducted by the PSNI.

It is not yet known if Mr Lynch's remains are in the vehicle, but his family are being kept fully informed of developments through a family liaison officer.

A member of his family told RTÉ the family were grateful to gardaí who had been involved in a full review of the case in recent months.

Since January of this year, a series of searches have been under way of lakes in Co Monaghan and Co Fermanagh as part of renewed garda efforts to solve the case.

The search that led to the discovery of Mr Lynch's car in a lake near Lisnaskea was conducted after members of the public alerted detectives to an anomaly on the bed of the lake.

In a statement, gardaí said these men were aware of the renewed appeal for information regarding the location of Mr Lynch's car earlier this year and made contact with Clones Garda Station.

Gardaí said they liaised with the PSNI and shortly after 2pm yesterday police divers carried out an underwater search of the lake and discovered that a car was submerged.

Early this year, gardaí and members of the local Civil Defence began a series of searches of 16 lakes and flooded quarries in the area of north Monaghan along the border with Fermanagh. 

Gardaí said these searches were to continue and were to include lakes in and around the border region.

The searches had been suspended as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, a specific search was undertaken yesterday after members of the public brought the PSNI to a specific location.

Inspector Graham Tolan of Monaghan Garda Station said: "We are grateful to the members of the public who alerted us to this anomaly in the water.

"I'd like to remind the public that small pieces of information, no matter how insignificant they may seem, can often prove vital, as is the case today.

"We will continue to work with police in Lisnaskea who are investigating the circumstances surrounding the discovery."