Niece of Disappeared monk hopeful of finding body

Joe Lynskey went missing from west Belfast in 1972
Joe Lynskey went missing from west Belfast in 1972

The niece of a former monk executed and secretly buried by the IRA has said she is convinced someone still has information that could help find his body.

One of the Disappeared, Joe Lynskey went missing from west Belfast in August 1972 and a forensic dig for his remains has been going on over six hectares of reclaimed bog since early March.

Maria Lynskey will travel on Thursday to see the painstaking metre-by-metre search of farmland in Coghalstown, Co Meath, where he is thought to have been dumped, and make a personal plea for help.

“This is a very difficult journey to make. Even though Joe was the first of the Disappeared the family didn’t know that until 2010,” she said.

“The thought that he has been left here for over 40 years is almost unbearable. Now we need to bring him home to give him the Christian burial that he was denied all those years ago.”

The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains (ICLVR) brought in a sniffer dog late last year to help detect signs of human remains at the site.

Mr Lynskey, a former Cistercian monk from Beechmount, Belfast, was one of 17 people abducted, killed and clandestinely dumped or buried by republicans. The IRA only admitted his murder almost 40 years on, in 2010.

The Commission has investigated 16 abductions and murders. To date the remains of 10 people have been recovered, the most recent being Brendan Megraw, whose remains were found on Oristown bog, also Co Meath, last October.

Maria Lynskey also used her personal appeal to plea for help in finding the bodies of two others, also thought to have been buried in Co Meath, in an area known as Wilkinstown and not far from Oristown.

“I am convinced that there is more information that could be brought forward not only in Joe’s case but also about Seamus Wright and Kevin McKee who could be close by,” she said.

“The only reason we want anyone with information to come forward is to find the remains of our loved ones. One piece of information could ease years of pain.”