‘Disappeared’ boy’s brother speaks on anniversary

Vera McVeigh's grave, which bears her son Columba's name
Vera McVeigh's grave, which bears her son Columba's name

The brother of a 17-year-old who was abducted, murdered and secretly buried by the IRA in 1975, has spoken of his hope that those who know where his remains are will come forward.

Columba McVeigh was described as an ‘informer’ by the IRA after the killing, a claim his family deny. His remains are believed to be buried in a bog near Emyvale in Co. Monaghan. A number of searches of the area have been unsuccessful.

Speaking on the 10th anniversary of the death of his mother, Vera, Oliver McVeigh said he was delighted by news that the search for another of the ‘Disappeared’, Seamus Ruddy, has been successful.

He said: “Like the other families of the disappeared we were delighted to hear the news from France that the search for Seamus Ruddy was successful and that as soon as there is a formal identification his remains can be returned to his family for the Christian burial that was denied them for over 30 years.

“That is all we want for our family.

“Seamus’ name is on the grave stone of his mother and Columba’s name is on my mother’s head stone.

“Our mother went to her grave 10 years ago broken hearted.

“Our family cannot and will not rest until he is found and brought home.

“The work in France shows that with the right information the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains (ICLVR) will locate and recover the remains of those so cruelly taken from us and secretly buried.”

Meanwhile, a former INLA prisoner who was involved in the search for Seamus Ruddy told the BBC the remains found at the weekend were less than 40 yards from a previous search site. Willie Gallagher has been liaising with the ICLVR.

The former INLA man, who was jailed for a bomb attack on a bar in Strabane, said he is relieved the search is now over.

“Three years ago we had extra members on our team to re-examine and re-evaluate all the information we did have and during the course of that we came across what seemed an insignificant rumour which we pursued,” he said.