Belfast Telegraph

Plea to continue Disappeared search

The struggle to find the bodies of seven people abducted and murdered by the IRA has been passed to a new generation, campaigners said.

Relatives of the Disappeared will gather for a ceremony on Saturday near where one of the victims is thought to have been secretly buried in the Irish Republic. Catholic Bishop of Meath Dr Michael Smith will lead prayers.

Newlywed Brendan Megraw, 23, vanished from West Belfast in 1978, and is believed to be interred near Kells, Co Meath.

Sandra Peake, chief executive of the Wave trauma group, said: "The journey of the families of the Disappeared will not end until they all can take their loved ones home.

"Many of the mothers of the Disappeared put their son's name on the family headstone, in effect passing on the responsibility for continuing the search to the next generation.

"We owe it to those mothers to do everything we can to end this torment."

Between 1972 and 2003, 17 people have been acknowledged as "disappeared" during the conflict, having been kidnapped, murdered and disposed of in unmarked graves by republicans. The remains of 10 bodies have been recovered.

As well as Mr Megraw, at least two other bodies are thought to be buried in Co Meath. Kevin McKee and Seamus Wright were taken from West Belfast in 1972 and searches have been carried out at Wilkinstown, a short distance from Oristown where Saturday's prayers will be said.

Saturday's event is organised by the Wave Trauma Centre, a charity which supports those bereaved or injured during the conflict.

Mr Megraw's brother Kieran will attend Saturday's ceremony along with members of the families of the Disappeared.

"All of the families have embraced the Good Friday Agreement and the newfound peace that has been created," he said.

"We have moved on with our lives as best we can but this nightmare doesn't go away. For us to fully move on we need to bring the bodies home and we will continue to fight until that happens."

Mr Megraw was described by his family as motorbike mad; fixing, cleaning and racing them. Politics was one of his pet hates.

The IRA claimed he confessed to being a British provocateur and Military Reaction Force undercover agent in 1978.

Others missing include Joe Lynskey, a former Cistercian monk from West Belfast, and Captain Robert Nairac of the SAS.

In 1999 the British and Irish governments jointly established the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains (ICLVR). Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams led appeals for information in finding the bodies.

The ICLVR co-ordinates the searches using the latest forensic techniques. Anyone with information is asked to contact the commission, which treats information as confidential.

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