Republic of Ireland news

People who disappeared Troubles victims urged to clear their consciences

Columba McVeigh, Joe Lynskey and Robert Nairac
David Young, PA

The sister of one of the remaining Disappeared victims of the Troubles has urged those who know where he is buried to clear their consciences before they die.

Dympna Kerr, whose brother Columba McVeigh was murdered and secretly buried by the IRA in 1975, joined other bereaved relatives on Tuesday for a silent walk in memory of those who are yet to be found.

Sixteen people were disappeared by republican paramilitaries during the Troubles. Aided by a commission set up to investigate their whereabouts, 13 have been found over the last two decades.

Co Tyrone teenager Mr McVeigh, former monk Joe Lynskey and British Army Captain Robert Nairac have never been found despite extensive inquiries and searches.

Co Down hairdresser Lisa Dorrian, who vanished from a caravan park in Ballyhalbert in 2005, is now considered to be the fourth Disappeared victim whose remains are yet to be recovered.

A wreath carried by Mrs Kerr on the annual All Souls Day walk at Stormont bore four white lilies to signify the four victims.

Mr McVeigh, from Donaghmore, Co Tyrone, was abducted and murdered in 1975.

Multiple searches of Bragan Bog in Co Monaghan by the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains (ICLVR) have ended in failure.

“It’s nearly 50 years ago, it’s time now for the people to come forward,” said Mrs Kerr.

“Tell us where he is. They’ve nothing to gain and have nothing to lose. But all we want is put him in the grave in Donaghmore beside our mum and dad, that is our wish as a family.

“The last thing you’ll ever give up is hope.

“And these people who know something, well, like yourselves, we’re all getting older and we’re all going to be leaving this earth one day. And I would like to leave it with a clear conscience and maybe they would as well.

“So maybe they could think of that as well and think of their judgment day. Just tell the information, put it across. Let us find the Disappeared and that’s it.

“It’s not closure, but it’s completeness. We’re all born, we live, we die, we’re buried. Columba was born, lived and died but he’s not buried. We want to bury him.”

Mr Lynskey went missing from his west Belfast home in May 1972. Searches have taken place for his remains in Co Meath, but ended without success.

Capt Nairac is believed to have been abducted from a bar in south Armagh in May 1977. Unsuccessful searches have taken place for his remains at Ravensdale Forest, Co Louth.

Mr Lynskey’s niece Maria laid flowers at Tuesday’s event in Belfast.

“If you haven’t hope, what have you got?” she said.

“It’s a horrible thing to think anybody would be taken away and disappeared.

“You know, there’s no reason to it. What has anybody got out of it? Why not just give these bodies back and then it’s finished.

“We keep hearing that it’s time for victims to know the truth. We don’t look at ourselves as victims but it is time for us to find out the truth. And the truth is where are our loved ones, where are they?”

Information can be passed to the ICLVR in confidence. No criminal charges can be brought on the basis of information received by the commission.

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