Belfast Telegraph

'Search for our loved ones will go on,' vows families of Disappeared

By Kate Buck

The sister of one of the three remaining Disappeared yesterday issued a plea for information during a poignant ceremony at Stormont.

Dympna Kerr, whose brother Columba McVeigh was just 17 when he was abducted and killed in 1975, travelled from Liverpool to join the other families for their annual wreath-laying.

During the Troubles 16 people were murdered and secretly buried by republicans, depriving their families of a proper funeral. Three still have not been located.

Every year families hold the Silent Walk for the Disappeared to lay a black wreath containing a white lily for each of the victims who are yet to be found - Mr McVeigh, Joe Lynskey and Robert Nairac.

Yesterday Seamus Ruddy's sister Anne Morgan removed a white lily symbolising her brother who was found in northern France in May. The 32-year-old was abducted and killed in Paris in 1985.

Mr McVeigh's sister, Ms Kerr said: "We are like a family and that is how important it is because unless you've been through something like this you can't understand what it feels like every day of your life.

"It doesn't get harder to come here each year because today we removed the lily for Seamus Ruddy and that brings relief, but you hope, please God, next year let it be Columba. They have denied us the right to bury Columba, to give him the Christian burial beside his parents.

"People die every day of the week but when you bury them the healing can start."

Ms Kerr pleaded for anyone with information to give it to the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims Remains.

"I'm not bothered who you are, I don't even want to know who you are, but give the Commission the information and let them do their job," she said.

"Our job will be to arrange his funeral and bury him, that's all we want, nothing more."

Joe Lynskey's niece Maria, who also attended the ceremony at Stormont, said: "It falls to the next generation to keep looking and it's just something that you have to do for your family."

Ms Morgan said that it had been a huge relief for her family when her brother's remains had been discovered.

She said: "When I saw the forensic tent over him I knew that archaeologists were now looking after him and I just felt a sense of contentment that he was being looked after and was in good hands."

She added: "The families of the Disappeared will not disappear.

"We are still here and we will be until all three people have been found.

"When we started the wreath was full of white lilies, there are now three lilies left.

"We want to ensure that these are removed when those still Disappeared are found."

The ICLVR was formed in April 1999.

Belfast Telegraph

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