Belfast Telegraph

Lisa Dorrian: Disappeared Jean McConville's son urges unionist leaders to press loyalist paramilitaries over what happened to missing woman

Lisa Dorrian was last seen at a caravan park at Ballyhalbert on the Ards Peninsula in February 2005
Lisa Dorrian was last seen at a caravan park at Ballyhalbert on the Ards Peninsula in February 2005

By Rebecca Black

The family of missing believed murdered woman Lisa Dorrian have thanked the son of Disappeared mother-of-10 Jean McConville for publicly raising their struggle to find her.

Lisa (25) was last seen at a caravan park at Ballyhalbert on the Ards Peninsula in February 2005. It is widely believed that loyalist paramilitaries were involved in vanishing her.

Speaking after a BBC documentary raised awareness that the remains of seven people disappeared by the IRA and INLA have never been found, Michael McConville urged unionist leaders to press loyalist paramilitaries to help the Dorrian family to find their daughter.

His mother's remains were found on a beach in Co Louth by a member of the public in 2003, more than 30 years after she was murdered in 1972.

"After watching the programme I went to bed and couldn't sleep, the reason why I couldn't sleep was that I was thinking about the Dorrian family, that young girl who was disappeared and there has never been much mentioned about it," he said.

"I want to bring it to the attention of unionist politicians and loyalist groups out there if they could help to bring her home to her loved ones.

"This was in recent times so there will be people who know where this body is, and if any politicians out there could use their influence to bring this girl's body back."

Lisa's sister Joanne told the Belfast Telegraph last night that her family are grateful to Mr McConville for his appeal.

"We are grateful to Michael. Unfortunately we have been through similar circumstances. We thank him for raising Lisa's case," she said.

"It doesn't get any easier over the years, there is not a moment when we are not wondering where she is."

Joanne urged anyone who might know anything that could help to come forward.

"There has been a lot of talk about common human decency. We are calling upon people who know anything to show their common decency and come forward," she said.

"We just want Lisa back. At anniversaries we have nothing, nowhere to go.

"We have had that taken away from us.

"There are people out there who can help us today."

A PSNI spokesman said the investigation into Lisa's disappearance is ongoing.

Last October, an area of farmland in Comber was searched by police for the remains of Lisa, but nothing was found.

The Dorrian family have tried a number of initiatives since she went missing, including linking up with Snow Patrol singer Gary Lightbody and releasing a short film at cinemas.

A £10,000 reward was also offered for information leading to the recovery of her body.

North Down MP Lady Sylvia Hermon backed Mr McConville's call.

"I greatly appreciated the support of the McConville family for that of my constituent, Lisa Dorrian, who was murdered and disappeared by those with loyalist connections eight years ago," she said.

"It is extraordinarily painful for the families of the disappeared, including Lisa's, to have to cope with the grim fact that the remains of their loved ones have still not been recovered.

"Each of these families desperately needs closure, and they need to be able to give their loved one a proper Christian burial."

All unionist parties yesterday were united in giving their backing to Mr McConville's call and urged anyone with information that could lead to the discovery of Lisa's body to come forward.

North Down DUP MLA Peter Weir said while the focus of finding the Disappeared has primarily been on republicans, Lisa's family are "similarly deserving of some closure".

Ulster Unionist MLA Leslie Cree said it is a "shame and disgrace" that Lisa's body has not yet been found.

TUV leader Jim Allister described the concealing of a body as a "particularly wicked twist to the most dreadful of crimes", and PUP councillor John Kyle called on anyone with information about Lisa to come forward.

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