Fresh plea over Disappeared from church leader

Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh
Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh

The leader of the Catholic church in Ireland has issued a plea for information about the Disappeared during an annual mass for them.

Though the remains of 12 of those kidnapped, killed and secretly buried by republicans during the Troubles, a number of such remains have yet to be found.

Archbishop Eamon Martin said: “I appeal to the conscience of anyone who has information that might help find the others to come forward to the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains, so that, even at this late stage, the remaining families can experience the consolation of being able to offer a Christian burial to their loved ones.”

To date, the ICVLR, an independent body set up during the peace process, has recovered the remains of 12 people.

Last year two men -- Kevin McKee, 17, and 25-year-old Seamus Wright - were found in a shallow grave near Coghalstown in Co Meath last September.

They were discovered during searches for Cistercian monk Joe Lynskey who was snatched from West Belfast in 1972, just a few miles from where the body of Brendan Megraw was dug up at Oristown, Co Meath a year earlier.

To date, the searches for Mr Lynskey have been unsuccessful.

Seamus Ruddy who disappeared from Paris in 1985; Columba McVeigh who was abducted in Dublin in 1975 and SAS-trained Captain Robert Nairac who disappeared from a South Armagh pub in 1977, also remain missing.

The Archbishop was addressing an annual mass for the Disappeared in St Patrick’s College, Armagh.

He added: “Over the past 17 years the families of those abducted, murdered and secretly buried have gathered to comfort one another and a close bond of empathy has developed among them.

“It is particularly merciful that many of those who have already had the comfort of bringing home for burial the bodies of their loved ones, continue to gathered in support of the remaining families who still wait in hope.

“The recovery and dignified laying to rest of of Kevin McKee and Seamus Wright since our gathering last Holy Week encourages us to continue to pray and not lose hope.”