Work begins in new search for former monk and founding PIRA figure Joe Lynskey

Former Cistercian monk and founding PIRA member Joe Lynskey
Former Cistercian monk and founding PIRA member Joe Lynskey

Work has begun to clear a small plot of land in Co Meath in the Republic of Ireland as part of searches for one of the Disappeared, former Cistercian monk and founding PIRA figure Joe Lynskey.

Mr Lynskey was one of 16 people abducted and murdered by the IRA and whose remains were hidden. He was killed in 1972.

Geoff Knupfer, lead investigator for the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains, said an extensive search had been carried out for Mr Lynskey in nearby Coghalstown in 2015. He then went back and reviewed all the information, he said.

Up until 2010 Mr Lynskey’s family believed that he may have been in hiding as a suspected informer.

In February 2010 An Phoblacht confirmed the IRA had abducted and killed him after he ordered an IRA man to shoot another member of the group. Mr Lynskey had been having an affair with his victim’s wife, it said.

In ‘Voices from the Grave, Two Men’s War in Ireland’, Ed Moloney said Mr Lynskey was a founder member of the PIRA in Belfast and also a personal friend of Gerry Adams.

He was in his late 30s or early 40s when he was abducted. In his younger days he was a Cistercian monk and was later nicknamed “the mad monk”. Idolising Michael Collins, he left the order in mid 1950s and became involved in republican politics well before 1969. He had been PIRA Belfast Brigade’s intelligence officer when he was disappeared.

IRA woman Dolours Price described driving Lynskey from Northern Ireland to the south to meet his fate. Her interview was given to Anthony McIntyre, another IRA member, for an oral history of the Troubles by Boston College.