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Fresh appeal over body of soldier Robert Nairac who was shot in Louth forest in 1977

By Adrian Rutherford

Published 27/01/2016

Robert Nairac was murdered by IRA in 1977
Robert Nairac was murdered by IRA in 1977

A new appeal for information has been made about the disappearance and murder of an undercover soldier almost 40 years ago.

Captain Robert Nairac, an SAS-trained officer, was killed in a forest in Co Louth in 1977 after being abducted from a bar in at Dromintee, south Armagh.

The body of the 29-year-old Grenadier Guardsman has never been discovered. He is one of four Disappeared whose bodies have yet to be found.

His murder came back under the spotlight after the publication of a book, Betrayal: The Murder Of Robert Nairac GC, in November.

Yesterday the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains (ICLVR) issued a fresh appeal for information.

Chief investigator Geoff Knupfer said: "The remains of 12 of the 16 Disappeared have been restored to their families for Christian burial. Of the four remaining cases Robert Nairac is the one on which we have least information.

"The Disappeared came from a range of backgrounds, but what they all have in common is that they have grieving families who had to bear the additional terrible burden of years of not knowing where their loved one was buried.

"In the past year or so, we have recovered the remains of three of the Disappeared, two of whom had been missing for over 40 years.

"We were able to do that because we were given the information necessary to put us in the right place. We need that information to help find Robert Nairac."

Mr Knupfer emphasised that all information given to the ICLVR was confidential and would be shared with no State agency.

"If the publication of this new book helps bring the case to public attention again, I hope those who know anything that can help us will contact us," he added.

"The only interest of the ICLVR is humanitarian: to help end the suffering of a family by finding the remains."

The kidnap and murder of Captain Nairac is one of the most mysterious Troubles cases.

He grew up in Gloucestershire and operated as an undercover intelligence officer.

On the night he disappeared in 1977 he was working undercover without back-up in the republican heartland of south Armagh, trying to gather intelligence on the IRA.

Reports have claimed he was in a bar singing Irish rebel songs in a fake local accent.

The soldier was seized during a struggle in the pub's car park and taken across the border to a field at Ravensdale and was later shot dead.

He was posthumously awarded the George Cross, with the citation praising his resistance to his abductors and his bravery under "a succession of exceptionally savage assaults".

Three men have previously been convicted of murdering Captain Nairac.

In 2011 a south Armagh man was cleared of involvement in the murder and four other charges, including kidnapping and false imprisonment.

  • Anyone with information should contact the ICLVR's confidential telephone number on 0080055585500, or they can write to ICLVR at PO box 10827, Dublin 2.

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