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Relatives of 'Disappeared' victim Seamus Wright voice gratitude at funeral

Published 15/09/2015

The funeral was held at St Agnes' Church in Andersonstown.
The funeral was held at St Agnes' Church in Andersonstown.
The funeral of Seamus Wright, one of two of the Disappeared whose remains were found in Co Meath, took place in west Belfast this morning. Picture Mark marlow/pacemaker press
The funeral of Seamus Wright, one of two of the Disappeared whose remains were found in Co Meath, took place in west Belfast this morning. Picture Mark marlow/pacemaker press
The funeral of Seamus Wright, one of two of the Disappeared whose remains were found in Co Meath, took place in west Belfast this morning. Picture Mark Marlow/pacemaker press
The funeral of Seamus Wright, one of two of the Disappeared whose remains were found in Co Meath, took place in west Belfast this morning. Picture Mark Marlow/pacemaker press
Relatives of Seamus Wright and Kevin McKee hold a prayer service at the site in Coghalstown, Co Meath, where two bodies were discovered

Relatives of one of Northern Ireland's "Disappeared" victims have expressed gratitude to those who anonymously provided the information that helped locate his remains.

Seamus Wright vanished from West Belfast in 1972 and his body lay undiscovered in a bog in the Irish Republic for more than four decades.

At his funeral mass in West Belfast, mourners were told an "extensive list" of people had helped the family through their 43-year ordeal.

His sister Breige Wright said: "All this was made much more possible because of so many people's efforts... including the people who provided the information to the Commission (Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains).

"We are extremely grateful for this."

Mr Wright, 25, was snatched alongside teenager and fellow IRA member Kevin McKee in October 1972.

The IRA shot the pair on suspicion they were working as British agents and dumped their bodies in a single shallow grave on reclaimed bog land in Coghalstown, Co Meath.

Father Brendan Callanan told a packed St Agnes' Church in Andersonstown: "It has taken a long time, 43 years, for us to come to this point. But we are here.

"That required an enormous amount of courage and perseverance. But, we are here."

Forensic archaeologists recovered the remains in June during a dig to find former Cistercian monk Joe Lynskey, who was also killed and "Disappeared" by republican terrorists.

They were found just a few miles from where the body of Brendan Megraw was discovered last year following searches at Oristown, Co Meath.

Mr Wright's siblings helped carry the coffin, adorned with a white floral wreath, into and out of the church while another relative clutched a black and white photograph.

Mr Wright, who was married, was a "deeply committed" family man with a "strong religious dimension" to his life, the priest said.

His wedding ring and wedding album were among the gifts carried to the altar during the emotional service.

"He died a young man - just 25 years of age - and the death of a young person seems to hit us harder," said Fr Callanan.

The hunt for the Disappeared has been overseen by the ICLVR, an independent body set up in 1999 after the Good Friday peace agreement to liaise with former paramilitaries to find 16 victims clandestinely buried.

Among the bodies to have been recovered are those of mother-of-10 Jean McConville, from West Belfast, and Crossmaglen pensioner Charles Armstrong.

Four others - Mr Lynskey, Columba McVeigh, Seamus Ruddy and Captain Robert Nairac - have yet to be found.

In a gesture of spiritual solidarity, candles representing each of the "Disappeared" victims were lit and brought to the front of the church by relatives as their names were read out.

At a funeral service for Mr McKee in St Peter's Cathedral on Monday, mourners were told his family had endured 43 years of pain.

Father Michael Murtagh said it was important to have a Christian burial to publicly acknowledge the tragedy.

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