Disappeared: Family's relief at wake held for brother murdered 36 years ago
A family in west Belfast was finally able to hold a wake for one of its members last night - after a heartrending wait of four decades.
A coffin carrying the remains of Brendan Megraw - one of the so-called Disappeared - was yesterday given a dignified escort from a Dublin morgue to his brother Kieran's home in the Blacks Road area.
As the remains were carried into the front living room, 54-year-old Kieran lit holy candles.
A photo of Brendan was placed on top of the closed coffin, which stated he died on October 1, 2014.
Kieran, Brendan's other brother Sean and sister Deirdre explained that because October 1 was the date Brendan was found, that was the first day he could legally be registered as dead.
In reality, Brendan Megraw had been killed a long time ago, his body having been abandoned in a remote bog in the Republic since his abduction by the IRA in 1978.
The body was returned home six weeks after it was found at Oristown, Co Meath. The 23-year-old was snatched by the IRA from his home in the Twinbrook area of west Belfast in April 1978.
Now the family is preparing to give Brendan a proper burial tomorrow.
A Funeral Mass at St Oliver Plunkett Church in west Belfast will be followed by interment at St Joseph's Cemetery in Glenavy, where his mother Brigid and father Robert are buried.
His name had previously been etched on the headstone awaiting his body.
Speaking at his family home yesterday, Kieran told the Belfast Telegraph the emotions of the day were bitter-sweet and very hard to put into words.
He said: "It has been fantastic, but obviously there is sadness there too, joy and relief that he is back home to Belfast and obviously going to be buried with his mum and dad.
"We always dreamed about it, thought about it, hoped and prayed for it."
Recalling the events of the late 1970s, Kieran said the family were from Stewartstown and when Brendan was taken he lived in Twinbrook.
Added Kieran: "We are grateful to whoever came forward with the information. Hopefully the rest of the families can get that relief and joy."
Oliver McVeigh, the brother of another 'Disappeared' victim, Columba McVeigh, travelled to Belfast to speak to the Megraw family yesterday. Kieran said: "Oliver is still waiting on word on Columba. We are still looking to get the other remains of the other six ones that are still disappeared home again. This (Brendan's recovery) has shown the system in place works, that the legislation is there and forensic team and investigations are there and the legislation is in place to protect anybody that gives information. If anybody has information if you can bring that forward. Hopefully the rest of the families can get that relief and joy and get their loved ones."