Belfast Telegraph

Funeral held for 'Disappeared' victim

Disappeared victim Charlie Armstrong's burial today gives hope to others still searching for loved ones who vanished during the Troubles, his funeral Mass heard.

The remains of Mr Armstrong, believed to have been abducted and murdered by the IRA in 1981, were found in remote bogland in Co Monaghan at the end of July.

Bishop Gerard Clifford, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Armagh, said the Armstrong family's long, anguished wait for a Christian burial had finally come to an end.

"Oftentimes their hopes were shattered," he said.

"But for 29 years the Armstrongs persisted in their demands that a husband, a father, would be given a proper burial, a place where they could gather and remember, a dignified place, a dignified burial.

"Today the family's search has ended."

Mr Armstrong, 57, from Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, in Northern Ireland, went missing on his way to Mass at St Patrick's Church in the town three decades ago.

He is one of the so-called Disappeared - 14 men and women abducted and killed by republican paramilitaries at the height of the violence in Northern Ireland.

Bishop Clifford told the funeral Mass he was loved and respected in the community.

"It would be an exaggeration to say that it is a day of joy," he said.

"It is still a day of mourning for one's loved one. It is a day to end the torment, the fear, the frustration and the anger."

Bishop Clifford appealed to anyone who "might have a shred of information" on the remaining Disappeared to share it with the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains (ICLVR).

"Time is moving on. There may be people who have some indication of where a body is placed," he said.

"We are all getting older and time is passing all too quickly. To anybody who might have a shred of information, I appeal to you to share that with those who will explore it to the full."

The IRA admitted in 1999 that it killed and buried nine of the Disappeared - Seamus Wright, Kevin McKee, Jean McConville, Columba McVeigh, Brendan Megraw, John McClory, Brian McKinney, Eamon Molloy and Danny McElhone - in secret locations.

The bodies of Mr Molloy, Mr McKinney, Mr McClory, Ms McConville and Mr McElhone have been found.

Others who vanished during the Troubles include Gerry Evans, Robert Nairac and Seamus Ruddy, who disappeared in France and whose murder was admitted by the INLA.

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