Belfast Telegraph

New search in Co Meath for Disappeared victim Joe Lynskey shot dead by IRA in 1972

By Michael McHugh

A fresh search for a man abducted and killed by the IRA is to be launched today.

Joe Lynskey was a former Cistercian monk who later joined the Provisionals.

Preparatory work will start today to clear a small area of trees in Oristown, Co Meath, in the Republic, with the dig proper beginning within days.

He was kidnapped in west Belfast in August 1972 and became known as one of the so-called Disappeared - 16 people abducted and secretly buried by republicans in the 1970s and 1980s.

The IRA admitted murdering Mr Lynskey in 2010, some 40 years after his disappearance.

The search is being led by the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains (ICLVR).

Lead investigator Geoff Knupfer said the efforts will be focusing on a small area.

"We carried out an extensive search for Joe Lynskey in nearby Coghalstown in 2015," he explained.

"During that search we found the remains of Seamus Wright and Kevin McKee but unfortunately we drew a blank in relation to Joe Lynskey.

"As we do after every unsuccessful search, we go back and review all the information that we have pulled together to see if there are other lines of enquiry to be pursued.

"That's what we've done in this case and as a result we are going to look at quite a small area of woodland at Oristown near where we found Brendan Megraw in 2014."

Following the search in 2015, Mr Lynskey's niece Maria said she was "bitterly disappointed" the remains had not been found.

"This year I had hope when before there was nothing and I'm grateful for that," she said.

Mr Knupfer said they would start work today as soon as the land is cleared of trees and contractors and forensic archaeologists can begin, adding they don't expect the operation to be a long one.

"We anticipate that this will not be a long search either way," he said.

"The Lynskey family have been informed and they know only too well that there is no guarantee of success, but we will continue to do everything we can."

Of the 16 Disappeared, the remains of 13 have been recovered.

The remaining three are Mr Lynskey, Columba McVeigh, who was kidnapped in 1975, and British soldier Captain Robert Nairac, taken in south Armagh and killed by the IRA in 1977.

Mr Knupfer also issued a fresh appeal for information on the three cases.

"Any information provided to the ICLVR is held in complete confidence and can only be used for the location of the Disappeared and cannot be shared with other agencies for any other purpose," he said.

"Anyone with information on any of the outstanding cases should contact the ICLVR on 00800 555 85500, by writing to ICLVR, PO Box 10827, Dublin 2. or via the website www.iclvr.ie."

Belfast Telegraph

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