Belfast Telegraph

Remains confirmed as Disappeared victim Gerry Evans

Human remains found in the Republic of Ireland have been identified as those of suspected IRA murder victim Gerry Evans.

The 24-year-old went missing in 1979 and is one of the so-called Disappeared who were killed and secretly buried by republicans during the Troubles.

His body was found last month in bogland in Co Louth in the Irish republic only days after officials had given up the search.

In a statement today the group formed by the British and Irish governments to recover the Disappeared said: "The results positively indicate that the remains are those of Mr Gerard Evans.

"Dr Brian Farrell, Coroner for the City of Dublin has accepted this as evidence of identification and has authorised the release of the remains to the family.

"The thoughts of everyone in the Commission are with the Evans family at this difficult time."

Mr Evans was last seen hitch-hiking outside Castleblaney in Co Monaghan and became one of 16 people known as the Disappeared.

So far the remains of eight victims have been recovered.

Last month the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains (ICLVR) said its 16-month dig in the Carrickrobin area in search of Mr Evans's remains had ended without success.

But days later it made the shock announcement that a body had been discovered.

The missing man's family lived in Crossmaglen, south Armagh, just north of the border in Northern Ireland, close to another Disappeared victim, Charlie Armstrong.

The remains of Mr Armstrong, who went missing in 1981, were discovered in bogland in Co Monaghan in July and he was laid to rest by his family around the time the search for Mr Evans seemed set to end in failure.

In 1999 the IRA admitted it had killed and secretly buried nine of the 16 Disappeared, while the republican Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) has been linked to one of the deaths.

The plight of the families of the Disappeared became a major political issue in the 1990s after the ceasefires called by the main paramilitary groups.

After demands from families for the right to give their loved ones a proper burial, the British and Irish Governments formed the ICLVR in 1999.

Former republican paramilitaries were asked to give the commission information which might help locate the remains of their victims.

Dermot Ahern, Ireland's Justice Minister, said his thoughts were with the Evans family, who had "suffered the pain of not knowing his fate for so many years".

"As I have said before, I do not think those of us who have not experienced what it is like to have a loved one go missing can truly understand the heartache it causes. But we can at least give thanks that after 31 long years the Evans family will be able to give Gerry a proper burial."

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