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"No grave to tend, no place to grieve": The four remaining 'Disappeared'

The funeral of Seamus Wright heard today in Belfast that he was a “deeply committed” family man.

CONFIRMATION LAST WEEK that remains found in a Meath bog in June are those of Seamus Wright and Kevin McKee brings to an end another chapter in the search for ‘The Disappeared’.

The two men were abducted and killed by the IRA in 1972. Their remains were formally identified following DNA testing.

They’re being laid to rest by their families this week – with the funeral of Seamus Wright hearing today that he was a “deeply committed” family man (BBC).

Seamus Wright funeral Pall bearers carry the coffin of Seamus Wright to St Agnes' Church in Andersonstown, West Belfast today. Source: Niall Carson

The term ‘The Disappeared’ refers to 16 people killed during the Troubles whose remains were buried and not found.

The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains was set up by the British and Irish governments as part of the peace process, and tasked with finding the bodies.

To date, 12 victims have been recovered, including the most well-known, Jean McConville.

The remains of the following four men have still not been discovered:

joe Joseph Lynskey Source: Wave Trauma Centre

Joseph Lynskey was a former Cistercian monk from the Beechmount area of west Belfast. He went missing during the summer of 1972 and his remains have never been recovered. The IRA finally took responsibility for his death in 2010 with a statement from the organisation’s spokesperson. He said Lynskey was executed and buried in an unmarked grave.

columba Columba McVeigh Source: Wave Trauma Centre

Columba McVeigh was just 17 years old when he was abducted and killed in October 1975. He had been working as a painter in Dublin and had only returned to Northern Ireland a few days earlier. Although at least six extensive searches, based on information received, have been carried out in Monaghan his remains have yet to be recovered.

robert Robert Nairac Source: Wave Trauma Centre

Captain Robert Nairac was an officer with the Grenadier Guards on a tour of duty in Northern Ireland when he was abducted in Armagh in May 1977. He was 29 years old. Although his remains were never recovered, a man was convicted of his murder the same year. The deceased received a posthumous George Cross.

seamus Seamus Ruddy Source: Wave Trauma Centre

Newry resident Seamus Ruddy was a 33-year-old teacher of English in Paris, France when he disappeared in May 1985. In December 1995, the INLA admitted responsibility for his death. In February 1999, information emerged to suggest that his body was buried in Rouen, France, but despite searches having been carried out his remains have not yet been recovered.

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Search for the Disappeared. The scene i A member of the Lynskey family arriving at the scene of the Meath search in June. Source: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Speaking in January of this year, Bishop of Clogher Liam McDaid asked anybody with information to “search their conscience” and help end the suffering of the McVeigh family.

For almost four decades the McVeigh family have had to bear the pain of the loss of Columba. A pain deepened almost beyond imagination by the fact that they have no grave to tend, no place to grieve.

The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains has launched a number of public appeals for information regarding Columba’s burial and the other cases in recent years.

Of the 16 Disappeared, the Provisional IRA admitted to carrying out 13 murders. The INLA took responsibility for one and no attribution has been given to the remaining two.

Anyone with information can contact the ICLVR on 00800 555 85500, write to them at: ICLVR, PO Box 10827, Dublin 2 or contact them via the website.

Originally posted on 8 September. 

Read: “More than one body” found in Co Meath search for ‘Disappeared’ Joe Lynskey >

Read: Two men arrested over Jean McConville abduction and murder are let go >

About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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