Belfast Telegraph

Niece's prayer as search begins for Disappeared victim Joe Lynskey in Irish wood

By Allan Preston

The niece of Disappeared victim Joe Lynskey left a prayer yesterday at the Co Meath site it's suspected he is buried.

A fresh search has been launched for Mr Lynskey who was abducted and murdered by the IRA in 1972.

Maria Lynskey travelled to a small wooded area in Oristown, 20 miles west of Drogheda, where the search for her uncle resumed.

Desperately hoping for a breakthrough, she pinned a short prayer to a tree along with a candle and rosary beads.

The Disappeared are the 16 people abducted, murdered and secretly buried by republicans during the Troubles.

Mr Lysnkey was a former Cistercian monk who later joined the Provisionals. The IRA eventually admitted to his murder in 2010.

Two others, Co Tyrone teenager Columba McVeigh and undercover soldier Robert Nairac, also remain missing.

Anne Morgan showed her support to Maria Lynskey yesterday in Co Meath.

The remains of Ms Morgan's schoolteacher brother Seamus Ruddy were finally found in France last year.

Linda Pywell, whose brother Brian McKinney was abducted by the IRA in 1978, is aware of what the Lynskey family is going through.

Mr McKinney's body was found in Co Monaghan in 1999.

"Maria will just be on tenterhooks, hoping and praying for a positive result," Ms Pywell said.

"At the same time, it's still that awful realisation that he's dead, it's such a bittersweet feeling. She will be very hopeful as we all are for her at the minute.

"With my brother, we had six weeks of digging and as time went on we began to lose hope.

"It was on the very last day of the dig, it was about to be called off and two of the Garda decided to go and search another spot and they found Brian.

"We were really elated, for 21 years we didn't know where he was and for 17 years we couldn't really speak about it because no one was really looking for him.

"When it finally came to it we had peace in our hearts that we would finally be able to give him a resting place.

"It was very important to us before mum and dad died."

Should the search for Mr Lysnkey prove unsuccessful, Ms Pywell said it was still meaningful to know efforts are being made.

"It's so important. The families of the Disappeared do meet from time to time and still hope for Columba, Joe and Robert and their families to find the peace in their hearts that we've found."

Geoff Knupfer is the lead investigator with the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains.

He said he did not anticipate a long search and that the family were well aware there was no guarantee of success.

A previous search for Mr Lynskey in 2015 instead uncovered the remains of Disappeared victims Seamus Wright and Kevin McKee.

The current site was chosen after reviewing information and is the same area that victim Brendan Megraw was found in 2014.

Mr Knupfer issued a fresh appeal for information on the three remaining cases.

He stressed any information could only be used by the commission.

Belfast Telegraph

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