Belfast Telegraph

Search for 1975 Disappeared teen Columba McVeigh resumes again

Jon Hill of Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains at Bragan Bog, Co Monaghan, where a new search has begun for the body of Columba McVeigh
Jon Hill of Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains at Bragan Bog, Co Monaghan, where a new search has begun for the body of Columba McVeigh

By Rebecca Black

A new search for Columba McVeigh - one of the Disappeared victims who was murdered and secretly buried by the IRA - has resumed.

The 17-year-old, from Donaghmore, Co Tyrone, was last seen in November 1975.

He is one of three of the Disappeared whose bodies have still to be found.

A search for his remains started last September in bogland across the border in Co Monaghan.

It was suspended in early November due to the poor weather conditions.

Excavators will return to a site at Bragan bog near Emyvale today to resume the search effort, the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains (ICLVR) has announced.

Four previous searches there have proved unsuccessful.

Jon Hill, senior investigator with the ICLVR, said it has taken some time for the bog to dry out sufficiently to allow the use of machinery.

"We've managed to do some preparatory work in advance of today and so we're able to get down to the search proper straight away," he said.

"As I explained back in September, we are searching an area of about one acre in total which is smaller than some we have worked on in previous Disappeared searches but this is challenging terrain.

"We are about halfway through the planned search area, but as before I'm not going to put a precise time frame on how long we'll be here.

"Obviously our hope is that we find Columba at an early stage but as ever we'll have to wait to see.

"What I can absolutely guarantee is that the highly skilled contractors and forensic archaeologists working here will do everything they humanly can to get the result that we all know will mean so much to the McVeigh family and all those who support them."

Last week Crimestoppers announced that an anonymous donor had put up a reward of $60,000 (£47,539) for information that results in the recovery of the remains of the three outstanding Disappeared victims.

The others are former monk Joe Lynskey and British soldier Robert Nairac.

Geoff Knupfer, lead ICLVR investigator, explained the donated money will be divided equally between those who provide information leading to the discovery of Mr Lynskey and Mr Nairac.

"The search for Columba was under way well before the Crimestoppers reward was made available and it can only be claimed on the basis of new information that in the first instance goes to Crimestoppers and that results in the recovery of the remains of the outstanding Disappeared cases," he said.

"As Jon has said, we want to find Columba as quickly as possible, and as things stand that would be on the basis of existing information.

"If that proves to be the case and we find him then the $20,000 allocated to Columba's case will be divided equally between the other two, raising the reward figure to $30,000 each for the recovery of the remains of Joe Lynskey and Captain Robert Nairac.

"I want to stress that for the reward to be triggered new information must be registered with Crimestoppers and it must result in the recovery of the remains.

"All information that goes to Crimestoppers will be given only to the ICLVR and no one else and at all times and at all stages it will be treated in complete and total confidence."

Crimestoppers can be contacted via: 0800 555 111 and anonymously at www.crimestoppers-uk.org. The ICLVR can be contacted via: 00800-55585500, International: +353 1 602 8655

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph