UUP justice spokesman Doug Beattie MLA has seconded calls by a former IRA hunger striker for Capt Robert Nairac’s body to be returned to his family for a Christian burial.
Captain Nairac was abducted murdered and secretly buried by the IRA in south Armagh in 1977.
Mr Beattie was speaking after a BBC report quoted a former RUC detective saying that his two year investigation found no evidence that Nairac was involved in the murder of Lurgan IRA man John Francis Green in 1975.
Mr Green’s brother Leo, a former hunger striker, believes Nairac was involved in the murder though Mr Beattie said there is “absolutely no credible evidence” of this. He noted that the issue could feature in a future court case.
“In the meantime,” Mr Beattie said, “I commend the words of Leo Green, a brother of the deceased, in his call for those within the republican movement responsible for the abduction, torture and murder of Robert Nairac to give information into the whereabouts of his remains so the family have the opportunity to have a Christian burial for Robert.”
Mr Green told the BBC: “I very much empathise with the Nairac family and their search for their brother’s remains. My brother’s remains are buried a five minute walk from here. We have a place we can go to, we can lay flowers, we can say a prayer, maybe just reflect. We’ve had that place since he died basically.
“The Nairac family have none of that and we think very much that they are entitled to that and we would hope that anyone with information on the location of his remains would bring it forward to the commissioners responsible for securing the victims’ remains. It would be the right thing, first of all and we also think that it would be part of an enormous gesture of reconciliation as well. we think that the more individual acts of occur then possibly we can build a bedrock upon which we can establish some proper reconciliation process in a way that the conflict can be put behind us all.”