Belfast Telegraph

Brother of Columba McVeigh ‘prepared to meet the IRA’ to get answers

Oliver McVeigh was speaking after the latest search to find his brother Columba ended without success

Columba McVeigh was murdered and secretly buried by the IRA in 1975 (Handout/PA)
Columba McVeigh was murdered and secretly buried by the IRA in 1975 (Handout/PA)

By Rebecca Black, PA

The brother of a teenager killed and secretly buried by the IRA over 40 years ago says he is prepared to meet the terror group to get answers.

Columba McVeigh, from Donaghmore, Co Tyrone, was 19 years old when he was murdered and secretly buried by the IRA in 1975.

A number of searches for his remains have taken place at Bragan Bog, Co Monaghan by the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains (ICLVR) following a tip off.

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The dig site at bogland in Co Monaghan, where investigators are searching for the remains of teenager Columba McVeigh (Richard McCarthy/PA)

Some 21 acres of the area has been searched, but the latest effort has now ended without success.

Oliver McVeigh said he is prepared to meet the IRA to get the information he needs to lay his brother to rest beside their parents, who both died without knowing what happened to Columba.

“It has to go back to the Republican movement now, and let’s face it, the Republican movement is the IRA and Sinn Fein,” he told the PA news agency.

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Oliver McVeigh says he is prepared to meet the IRA to ask where his brother Columba was buried following his murder in 1975. (Rebecca Black/PA)

“They have to come up with answers now because the commission has dug 21 acres of land, there’s been nothing found, and they have proven they can find bodies when they are there,” he said.

“I reckon they could be lying, is he buried there at all.

“The information was inaccurate because we haven’t found him, what we are to suspect from that, are they lying. He hasn’t been found and that’s simple.

“I’ll go to the devil, I’ll talk to whoever I have to talk to, or do whatever I have to do to get the information.

“I’m prepared to meet anyone or talk to anyone, I will stop at nothing.

We just can't it leave it like that. This person is lying, buried like a dog in a bog Oliver McVeigh

“I would like to meet them and ask them these questions. I want to get answers.

“They say they have given as much information as they can, I want them to look me in the eye and say that.

“We just can’t it leave it like that. This person is lying, buried like a dog in a bog.

“Never mind being shot 44 years ago in the head and buried, and his family not knowing anything about it for 25 years.

“He’s lying there, we want to put him in a Christian burial with his mother and father.”

Mr McVeigh said it would have been his brother’s 64th birthday on Thursday.

“He would have been retiring next year if he had still been alive, his life was taken away at 19, an awful thing full stop, never mind what happened to him since that,” he added.

Earlier former Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said he was disappointed that Mr McVeigh had not been found.

“Since 1999 13 of the 16 people shot and secretly buried by the IRA 40 years ago have been recovered,” he said.

“I want to commend the work of the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains and all of those who have assisted them.

“I would appeal to anyone who might have any information relating to the remaining cases to bring that forward. This includes anyone who was previously in touch with the Commission.

“Contact is on the basis of absolute confidentiality.”

Anyone with information should contact CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111 and the untraceable anonymous online form is at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

PA

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