We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Columba McVeigh
columba mcveigh

Ministers visit Co Monaghan bog where search for remains of Columba McVeigh continues

Columba McVeigh was just 19 when he was murdered and secretly buried by the IRA in 1975.

JUSTICE MINISTER SIMON Harris has appealed to anyone with information on the location of the remains of the Disappeared to come forward.

Harris visited Bragan Bog in Co Monaghan today where the search for Columba McVeigh continues. 

McVeigh from Donaghmore in Co Tyrone was just 19 when he was murdered and secretly buried by the IRA in 1975.

Speaking to reporters this afternoon, he said the search for the Disappeared victims of the Troubles will never stop until their remains have been found.

Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys, a TD for Cavan and Monaghan, also joined the minister today to meet McVeigh’s brother Oliver and sister Dympna at the site.

“During my time as Minister for Justice, I have been really struck by the incredible resilience of the families of the Disappeared. They’ve touched my heart and will always have a special place in it,” he said. 

He said he wanted to be here today to make it “absolutely crystal clear that these families will never be forgotten, and that this work will not stop”.

He thanked the team from the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains (ICLVR), which is conducting the extensive search of the bogland in Monaghan. 

“For as long as it takes, for whatever resources are required, the Government will stand shoulder to shoulder with the families of the Disappeared,” said Harris. 

The McVeigh family should be given “some element of closure”, he added, stating that “it is the view of the commission that Columba is here in this bog behind us”.

Minister Humphreys said it is important that what happened at the bogland almost 50 years ago is not forgotten.

“A young man was brought into this bog and when I came up in the car you see the diggers and you think to yourself you don’t know what the next bucket will pull up.

“It’s so hard for the family because every time they come here they relive part of that grief they felt all those years ago, it comes back to them again.

“So it’s important that we keep the focus here, it’s important that we find the remains of Columba McVeigh, and I just want to say thank you to the workers and the commission and all the archaeologists here,” said the minister. 

FxTm6ARWAAIKH5a Justice Minister Simon Harris, Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys, TDs and senators from Cavan-Monaghan and the McVeigh family at the Bragan Bog in Monaghan today. Christina Finn Christina Finn

Oliver McVeigh thanked the workers searching Columba’s remains.

They said it is “very, very tedious” work to carry out, digging through the bog, section by section and checking everything. 

“Because they don’t really get any recognition. And as I said, without them, we wouldn’t really be here.”

Columba’s sister Dympna Kerr said she still finds it difficult to come to the Bragan bog, stating that for every family a wake and a funeral is important. 

Seventeen people were disappeared by republican paramilitaries during the Troubles.

Thirteen have been found over the last two decades, with the help of the commission.

Harris said the success of the independent commission is based on people coming forward with information. 

“It’s people who have brought forward information that has brought us to the point today in terms of the ongoing intense search of the bog.

“Of course, we continue to urge anybody with any information about any of the Disappeared to please come forward, it is never too late,” he said. 

Anyone who has any information can come forward in “complete and utter confidence”, he said, adding that structures are in place to protect anonymity.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel