The remains of two bodies have been found on reclaimed bogland in the Irish Republic where three of the IRA Disappeared are believed to have been secretly buried.
A dig on the farmland in Coghalstown, Co Meath, as part of the search for the remains of former monk Joe Lynskey unearthed one body in the morning, the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains (ICLVR) said.
A second body was discovered as further examinations took place at the site and preparations were made to take the first body out the ground.
IRA victims Seamus Wright and Kevin McKee are believed to be buried in the same area, the ICLVR said.
“We have always said that we think three bodies are in that area and until there is further identification we just don’t know,” a spokesman said.
It is understood the second set of human remains was unearthed as specialists cleared ground around the first body to prepare it for removal.
State Pathologist Marie Cassidy was at the site for a number of hours.
Joe Lynskey’s family, who have endured a 43-year wait to give their loved one a proper burial, were notified of the initial discovery and were said to be shocked but relieved at the discovery.
The former Cistercian monk was abducted and murdered by the IRA in August 1972.
The terror group only admitted his disappearance in 2010.
Mr Wright was also from Belfast.
He was in the IRA and was murdered in the same year by his former colleagues who accused him of being a British Army agent and a member of the Military Reaction Force.
Mr Wright was married and 25 years old when he went missing in October 1972. He worked as an asphalt layer.
Mr McKee, again from Belfast, and in the IRA, was also murdered in the same year.
He 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 terror group.
Extensive searches have been carried out at the site for both Mr Wright and Mr McKee but this year was the first dig for Mr Lynskey’s remains.
Months of painstaking searches by the ICLVR have been taking place in Coghalstown, including the use of a cadaver dog late last year to detect signs of human remains.
The three Disappeared were among 17 people abducted, killed and clandestinely dumped or buried by republicans.
The discovery, if confirmed as bodies of those people on the list, would be the 11th and 12th discoveries by the ICLVR.
The area of former bogland where the finds were made was reclaimed for farmland in the 1980s and used as pasture since.
About six hectares was being dug since the ICLVR brought forensic archaeologists, investigators and contractors on to the site in March.