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Dublin: 10 °C Sunday 17 February, 2019
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Family of murdered teenager in emotional appeal for information

IRA murder victim Columba McVeigh was abducted 40 years ago.

The IRA admitted in 1999 that they had killed Columba McVeigh.
The IRA admitted in 1999 that they had killed Columba McVeigh.

Updated at 1.28pm

THE FAMILY OF one of the IRA’s “disappeared” has issued another appeal for information on the location of his remains.

Columba McVeigh, from Donaghmore in Co Tyrone, was 17 when he was kidnapped and killed in 1975.

He is believed to have been buried at Bragan bog, in Co Monaghan, but four searches, most recently in September 2013, have failed to find his remains.

Ahead of the 40th anniversary of her brother’s abduction this weekend, McVeigh’s sister, Dymphna, told of the suffering his disappearance has caused.

“We loved Columba very much. Every year that passes is harder than the last and this anniversary is particularly painful,” she said.

If Columba had lived we would have celebrated his 60th birthday last September. Not only was that denied us but we have no where to gather to mourn him.
All we can do is to pray and plead. Pray that someday we’ll get him back and plead with anyone who has information to help bring an end to this nightmare. 

The Rev Ian Paisley meets abducted and murdered teenager's mother Columba McVeigh's late mother, Vera, speaks with Rev Ian Paisley in 2006. Source: Paul Faith/PA Archive/PA Images

‘Inhumanity’

McVeigh’s brother, Oliver, said his family could find no way to come to terms with the past.

How can we even begin to do that? Is 40 years not long enough to punish a family?
Someone has the information that can end this inhumanity at absolutely no risk to themselves.

Frank Murray of the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains (ICLVR) said: “We are convinced that the information we have received to date has us in the right place.

“A huge expanse of Bragan Bog has been searched.

What we need now is more information to be able to refine the search area.

Digging for the remains of Columba McVeigh New information about the location of Columba McVeigh's remains pinpointed two possible spots at Bragan bog. Source: Paul Faith/PA Archive/PA Images

In a statement this afternoon, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams also appealed for anyone with information on McVeigh’s location to come forward.

“I want to thank everyone who has helped thus far in the search for the remains of those killed and secretly buried by the IRA,” he said.

Republicans have cooperated fully with the Commission, and we now need to continue to do our utmost to bring closure for the remaining families.
I therefore want to appeal again for anyone with any information on those remains still not found to bring that information forward to the families, to the Commission or myself.

McVeigh was one of 17 “disappeared” who vanished during the Troubles.

The remains of three other victims - former Cistercian monk Joseph Lynskey, British Army officer Robert Nairac and English teacher Seamus Ruddy – have still not been located.

The bodies of Seamus Wright and Kevin McKee – both abducted in Belfast in the 1970s – were recovered in a field at Coghalstown in Co Meath last month.

Anyone with information can contact the ICLVR’s confidential telephone number on 00800-55585500 or write to them at ICLVR, PO BOX, 10827, Dublin 2.

Read: No charges for Gerry Adams as McConville family vows not to give up fight for justice

Read: Remains found in Meath bog are those of Seamus Wright and Kevin McKee

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About the author:

Catherine Healy

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