Belfast Telegraph

Niece of 'Disappeared' victim urges more information after fruitless search

A niece of one of the IRA's Disappeared has said more than one person still holds information that might reveal his secret burial place after an unsuccessful eight month search.

Maria Lynskey, whose uncle Joe Lynskey was abducted from west Belfast, murdered and dumped in a bog in the Irish Republic in 1972, revealed her bitter disappointment after a dig of 19 acres failed to find his remains.

Forensic archaeologists searched a site near Coghalstown in Co Meath where a shallow grave was found in September with the bodies of two other victims of the Provisional IRA, Kevin McKee and Seamus Wright.

Ms Lynskey said she was grateful for the hope that the lengthy excavation had given her but added that other people have information that might further the search.

"I believe that whoever gave the information that brought us all to Coghalstown acted in good faith," she said.

"But Joe hasn't been found and what we need now is more information.

"There is more than one person in that area who could help us find Joe and I would appeal to them to please tell us what you know."

The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains (ICLVR) began the search in March after specific information on a secret burial - the first time it has dug ground for Mr Lynskey's remains.

Three other digs had previously taken place in an adjacent field for the remains of Mr Wright and Mr McKee.

Ms Lynskey said that she and her family took great comfort from the discovery of the bodies of other victims.

"People talk about the families of the Disappeared but in a way we're one family. We support each other and we all share the pain of those who still wait and the indescribable relief of those whose loved ones have been found," she said.

"There were 16 Disappeared, now there are four. I pray for the day when they are all brought home for Christian burial."

Mr Lynskey was a former Cistercian monk from Beechmount in west Belfast.

He was abducted and murdered by the IRA in August 1972, but the terror group only admitted to being behind his disappearance in 2010.

He was among 17 people abducted, killed and clandestinely dumped or buried by republicans.

That list includes Gareth O'Connor who was murdered in 2003. His body was recovered on June 11 2005 at Victoria Quay, Newry Canal, Co Louth.

The ICLVR has investigated 16 of the secret burials and recovered the remains of 12.

Geoff Knupfer, the lead forensic scientist and investigator with the ICLVR, said ev eryone in the commission shares Ms Lynskey's disappointment.

"When we brought the team of forensic archaeologists and contractors on to the site to start the invasive phase of the search in March we had good reason to believe we were in the right place," he said.

"Like Maria we believe the information we were working from was given in good faith but clearly it was incomplete. We know that more information about the events of over 40 years ago is still out there.

"Once again I emphasise that all information is treated in the strictest confidence and that anyone who supplies it can do so in the certain knowledge that their identity will never be revealed to anyone else."

Ms Lynskey paid tribute to those involved in the search.

"Of course I'm disappointed that Joe is not coming home to be laid to rest with his parents but I know that the ICLVR did absolutely everything they could to find him," she said.


From Belfast Telegraph