Belfast Telegraph

Head of Catholic church in Ireland issues fresh appeal for information on the whereabouts of Disappeared

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

The leader of the Catholic church in Ireland has made a plea for information about the Disappeared victims of the Troubles.

The remains of four people who were kidnapped, killed and secretly buried by republicans during the 1970s and 1980s have yet to be found.

Archbishop Eamon Martin said: "I appeal to the conscience of anyone who has information that might help find the others to come forward to the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains (ICVLR), so that, even at this late stage, the remaining families can experience the consolation of being able to offer a Christian burial to their loved ones.

"They come with the assurance that the information can only be used to recover the bodies of those disappeared."

To date, the ICVLR, an independent body set up during the peace process, has recovered the remains of 12 people. Last year two men - Kevin McKee (17) and 25-year-old Seamus Wright - were found in a shallow grave near Coghalstown in Co Meath last September.

They were discovered during searches for Cistercian monk Joe Lynskey who was snatched from west Belfast in 1972, just a few miles from where the body of Brendan Megraw was dug up at Oristown, Co Meath a year earlier.

To date, the searches for Mr Lynskey have been unsuccessful.

Seamus Ruddy, who disappeared from Paris in 1985; Columba McVeigh who was abducted in Dublin in 1975 and SAS-trained Captain Robert Nairac who disappeared from a south Armagh pub in 1977, also remain missing.

The Archbishop was addressing an annual mass for the Disappeared in St Patrick's College, Armagh.

He described the annual Mass for the Disappeared there as "a work of mercy".

He added: "By our presence and our prayers we offer compassion and solidarity to those who continue to relive the shock and trauma of their loved one's disappearance.

"Over the past 17 years the families of those abducted, murdered and secretly buried have gathered to comfort one another and a close bond of empathy has developed among them.

"It is particularly merciful that many of those who have already had the comfort of bringing home for burial the bodies of their loved ones, continue to gather in support of the remaining families who still wait in hope."

ICLVR issued a fresh appeal for information about Robert Nairac in January.

Chief investigator Geoff Knupfer said of the four remaining cases Nairac is the one on which he has least information.

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