Belfast Telegraph

Exhumed body 'teenage IRA victim'

A body exhumed from a churchyard cemetery where it was secretly buried is suspected to be a teenage IRA victim murdered 35 years ago.

The remains were dug up from a family plot in Co Monaghan in the Republic - the same region where several digs have taken place for Columba McVeigh, one of the so-called Disappeared of the Northern Ireland Troubles.

Relatives of the 17-year-old, abducted and murdered in October 1975, face several agonising weeks for forensic tests to confirm the identity.

A priest, Father Joe McVeigh, tipped off authorities a year and a half ago that a man had given him information about a secret burial beside Urbleshanny Church near Scotstown.

The Fermanagh-based priest said he notified the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains within days of being told.

"They said that they would need more details and better information than I was able to provide them with. They said it did not correspond with their information," said Fr McVeigh, who is no relation to the Disappeared victim.

"The man who told me said, 'I know you have an interest in human rights'. That was the only reason he asked to speak to me."

Oliver McVeigh, Columba's brother, said the family would be waiting for the outcome of DNA tests.

"I'm not too hopeful but you can never lose hope. It's a possibility," he said.

"But you never lose hope. My mother died in hope and I'm here living her life and breathing her breath and hopefully we'll get the result. We are hopeful but we don't want to build anything up until the DNA comes out."

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