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Disappeared: I just want to give him proper burial, says IRA murder victim Joe Lynskey's niece

By Claire McNeilly

Published 14/05/2015

Maria Lynskey, niece of Joe Lynskey, who was abducted and murdered by the IRA in 1972
Maria Lynskey, niece of Joe Lynskey, who was abducted and murdered by the IRA in 1972

The niece of one of the Disappeared victims has said all she wants is to bury him beside his parents.

A search for the remains of Joe Lynskey is due to begin again today in Coghalstown, Co Meath, where he is believed to have been secretly buried.

Mr Lynskey, a former Cistercian monk who later joined the IRA, was abducted and murdered by the IRA in August 1972.

The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains (ICLVR) first began a metre by metre search of the 15 acres of bogland in March.

His niece Maria Lynskey (67) told the Belfast Telegraph she was "nervous" about visiting the site today.

"I'm full of hope but there's a nagging voice that it may come to nothing," she said.

"All I want is to be able to have a wake and a funeral and then bury him with his mother and father in Milltown Cemetery. Then he'll finally be in his proper place.

"His name is already on the grave. We did that about a year-and-a-half ago. It's all ready for him. We can't bring him back but we can bring his body back. Then I think we could begin to move on."

Although 40-year-old Mr Lynskey was the first of the so-called Disappeared - 16 people abducted and secretly buried by republicans in the 1970s and 1980s - the family didn't know that until 2010.

So far the remains of 10 people have been recovered.

Ms Lynskey said she was doing this for her father Jackie, Joe's only brother, and his four sisters.

"Joe went missing almost 43 years ago. I don't have memories of him as a child but he existed and I've decided to stand up for him," she said. "His family didn't know he was dead. They thought he was in America."

Jon Hill, senior investigator for the ICLVR, said that the search was progressing as anticipated.

"The terrain is not as rough as at Oristown where we found Brendan Megraw last October, but because it is now farmland reclaimed from the bog we have to reinstate it as we go along. The families know from experience that these searches take time but they also know that everyone working at Coghalstown could not be more committed or determined to work for a positive outcome".

Ms Lynskey, a mother and grandmother-of-three, made a further appeal for information.

"I am convinced that there is more information that could be brought forward not only in Joe's case but also about Seamus Wright and Kevin McKee, who could be close by," she said.

"It's the families who don't have the remains of their loved ones that suffer. It takes over your life. It's an unbelieveable cruelty. One piece of information could ease years of pain."

Anyone with information should contact the ICLVR on 00800 555 85500, by writing to ICLVR, PO Box 10827, Dublin 2. or via the website

Factfile: The Disappeared

Joseph Lynskey (still missing); Seamus Wright (missing); Kevin McKee (missing); Jean McConville; Peter Wilson; Eamon Molloy; Columba McVeigh (missing); Robert Nairac (missing); Brendan Megraw; John McClory; Brian McKinney; Gerard (Gerry) Evans; Danny McIlhone; Charlie Armstrong; Eugene Simons, Seamus Ruddy (missing).

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