Belfast Telegraph

Agony for Disappeared families over as bodies are formally identified

By Lesley Houston

More than four decades after two men were abducted, murdered and secretly buried by the IRA, their families are finally able to grieve properly.

Yesterday it was confirmed that the remains of two of the Disappeared recovered in bogland were those of Kevin McKee and Seamus Wright.

It ends the agony of uncertainty over the fate of the two young Belfast men who vanished in October 1972.

Welcoming the long-anticipated news as "bittersweet", Kevin's sisters Maria and Philomena said their mother's grave would finally welcome her first born child.

They said: "The news has hit us with the shock of reality, even though we were expecting it.

"We are so, so glad that after 43 years he will now be buried with our mother, who never recovered from his disappearance."

Kevin was just 17 when he disappeared at the height of the Troubles on October 2, 1972, the same day Seamus Wright went missing.

The two IRA victims were discovered on a farm near Coghalstown, Co Meath, after laying undisturbed in a shallow grave, one on top of the other.

DNA testing on the remains have been ongoing throughout the summer, with Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains (ICLVR) yesterday confirming they had been formally identified.

Commissioners Sir Ken Bloomfield and Frank Murphy said Dublin coroner Dr Brian Farrell would soon release the men's remains to their families.

Kevin McKee had been described as a "typical mischievous youth" but also a "tall, likeable gentleman" by friends and family. He had just gotten engaged before his abduction.

Seamus Wright, who had been working as an asphalt layer when he went missing in Belfast, was a married man of 25.

Funeral arrangements will be announced in due course by the Wright and McKee families.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, said the news would "bring an end to the uncertainty for the McKee and Wright families".

"I want to appeal again for anyone with any information on those remains still not found to bring that information forward to the families, to the commission, or myself," he said.

The ICLVR was on site for several months this year searching for the remains of former Cistercian monk Joe Lynskey, also a victim of the IRA.

The remains of five of the Disappeared have yet to be recovered.

They include the only victim of loyalist terrorists, Lisa Dorrian, a 25-year-old Bangor woman.

The others are Seamus Ruddy (33), a former Newry teacher who vanished in Paris in May, 1985; Columba McVeigh, from Donaghmore, who was 17 when he was kidnapped in Dublin on November 1, 1975; Robert Nairac (28), an undercover Army officer abducted in south Armagh, and Joe Lynskey, who disappeared from his west Belfast home in 1972.

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