Belfast Telegraph

Who were the Disappeared? Jean McConville one of those abducted and murdered by IRA over three decades

Killings span more than 31 years and include 16 victims

Jean McConville's abduction and murder by the IRA has been the most high-profile of cases known as the Disappeared.

The killings span more than 31 years and include 16 victims. Of those connected to republican activity, nine were named by the IRA in spring 1999 as having been murdered by members of their organisation and their bodies hidden across a number of areas in the Republic of Ireland. Seven bodies have been found but others remain missing.

The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) splinter group claimed one death.

Forensics-led searches have been carried out by the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains, established in 1999 by treaty between the British and Irish governments to obtain information.

Those found include:

:: Peter Wilson: The vulnerable man with learning difficulties went missing at the age of 21 from his west Belfast home in 1973. Reports suggest he might have been abducted and murdered by the IRA. His name was added to the list of the Disappeared in 2009 after new information became available.

For four days before he vanished he lived with an Army unit at their headquarters near his Falls Road home. At the time the Army was accused of using a vulnerable person to gather information on the IRA, but the Army said they wanted him to experience military life.

His remains were found at Waterfoot beach in County Antrim in November 2010.

:: Eamon Molloy: He was abducted from his home in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast in July 1975, after being accused by the IRA of being an informer. It was claimed he was quartermaster in one of the IRA's three Belfast brigades and that his activities forced the IRA into calling a ceasefire that year.

His body was discovered in a coffin left at Faughart graveyard near Dundalk, County Louth, in 1999. after IRA intermediaries passed information to the commission for the location of the victims remains.

:: Brian McKinney: He was abducted with his friend John McClory in 1978. He had first gone missing a few days beforehand, but returned 48 hours later, beaten and distraught. He had allegedly admitted stealing IRA weapons for use in robberies.

His parents made him give back the money but when he failed to return home from work soon after, his family began to fear the worst. His body was uncovered with his friend's in a bogside location in County Monaghan in the Republic in 1999.

:: Danny McIlhone: He disappeared from his west Belfast home in 1981. The IRA said Mr McIlhone was not suspected of being an informer but was being questioned about stealing weapons - it was claimed he was killed in a struggle with the person who was guarding him.

Remains discovered in the Wicklow mountains in the Republic in November 2008 were confirmed as his.

:: Charles Armstrong: The 57-year-old father-of-five from Crossmaglen, south Armagh, disappeared on his way to mass in 1981. His car was later found near a cinema in Dundalk. The IRA denied any involvement in his disappearance at the time.

Human remains were found in County Monaghan in July 2010. Two months later, they were confirmed as being those of Mr Armstrong.

:: Gerard Evans: He was last seen hitch-hiking in County Monaghan in March 1979 and no-one has admitted responsibility for the 24-year-old's death. In March 2008, his aunt was given a map claiming to identify the location of his body. Mr Evans' remains were found at a site in County Louth in October 2010.

:: Eugene Simons: The 26-year-old went missing from his home near Castlewellan, County Down, on January 1, 1981. His body was found accidentally in May 1984 in a bog near Dundalk.

Others are still missing

:: Captain Robert Nairac: The SAS-trained officer, 29, was abducted by the IRA in Jonesborough County Armagh, in May 1977 when he visited a pub at Dromintee, south Armagh. He had been singing rebel songs. He was seized during a struggle in the pub's car park and taken across the border to a field at Ravensdale, County Louth, and later shot dead.

:: Columba McVeigh: The 19-year-old from Donaghmore, County Tyrone was abducted and murdered by the IRA in 1975 after allegedly confessing to being a British Army agent with instructions to infiltrate the IRA.

A specialist forensic team spent five months last year digging in a bog in County Monaghan for Mr McVeigh's remains, but found nothing.

:: Seamus Ruddy: The 32-year-old from Newry, Co Down, was working as a teacher in Paris when he went missing in 1985, believed to be killed by members of the INLA. Renewed searches were carried out in 2008 after his family were told his remains were in a forest in Normandy, but they found nothing.

:: Kevin McKee: The Belfast IRA man was alleged to have been a British Army agent and member of its Military Reaction Force, an undercover unit. He was interrogated and murdered by the IRA in 1972.

:: Brendan McGraw: The IRA claimed that the 24-year-old from Belfast confessed to being a British undercover agent in 1978.

:: Seamus Wright: The Belfast IRA man was murdered in 1972 by his former colleagues who accused him of being a British Army agent and a member of the Military Reaction Force.

:: Joe Lynskey: The former Cistercian monk from the Beechmount area of west Belfast later joined the IRA. He disappeared in 1972 and republicans claimed he was "executed and buried" by the IRA.

Further reading

Gerry Adams arrest: Jean McConville 'squealed as she was dragged away from her family in IRA abduction' says son

Gerry Adams latest: Jean McConville's son fears for his life, Sinn Fein hits out at unionist 'Old Guard'

Gerry Adams arrest: How the story has developed so far 

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph