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Columba McVeigh
Columba McVeigh

The Disappeared: Anonymous donor offers $60,000 for information on locations of last three victims

The three men are among 16 people killed by Republicans between 1972 and 1985.
May 22nd 2019, 12:05 AM 16,997 32

AN ANONYMOUS DONOR has pledged up to $60,000 (€53,755) for any information that could help locate the remains of three men who went missing during the Troubles.

The donation, being made through the UK charity CrimeStoppers, has been offered to anyone who can help with the recovery of three men involved in the outstanding ‘Disappeared’ cases: Joe Lynskey, Columba McVeigh and Robert Nairac.

They are among 16 people identified by the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains (ICLVR) believed to have been abducted and killed by Irish Republicans during the Troubles.

The Provisional IRA has admitted responsibility for 13 of those deaths, while a further death – that of Seamus Ruddy – was admitted by the INLA.

All of the victims were male, with the exception of Belfast woman Jean McConville, and went missing between 1972 and 1985.

A reward of $20,000 (€17,919) per person has now been offered to those who can assist in finding the remains of the three men who remain missing.

ICLVR lead investigator Geoff Knupfer said the offer could help to “close a chapter of a terrible story in the lives of families who have suffered decades of torment”.

“A reward of $20,000 in each of the three outstanding cases is substantial and whether or not it helps bring forward information that we haven’t had to date and which results in the location and recovery of the remains we’ll have to wait to see,” Knupfer said.

“If it does it will be a hugely significant breakthrough.”

Neither Crimestoppers nor the ICLVR know the identity of the anonymous donor.

Humanitarian effort

The ICLVR was set up by the Irish and British governments in 1999 as part of the peace process.

It operates confidential Irish, British and international phone lines, an email address and a PO Box, and makes regular appeals for information – usually coinciding with anniversaries related to the victims they’re searching for.

It was originally hoped that its establishment would mean the remains of those missing would be located quickly, as people came forward with information.

The remains of three victims were found in the same year the group was established, although the process has stalled somewhat since then.

The most recent remains to be discovered belonged to Seamus Ruddy, which were found in France in 2017.

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Cadaver dog aids search for ex-monk Geoff Knupfer of the ICVLR holds a picture of Joe Lynskey during the search of a field in Meath in 2014 Source: Niall Carson/PA Images

Knupfer also said that the issue of the Disappeared was fundamentally a humanitarian one, and hoped that the reward could lead to closure among families who are still waiting for their loved ones to be offered a proper burial.

He emphasised that any information that was given to CrimeStoppers would be passed only to the ICLVR, and would be treated in the strictest confidence.

“We are entirely information-driven,” Knupfer said.

We can give a cast-iron guarantee which has been borne out over the 20 years that the ICLVR has been in operation that any information received can only be used by the ICLVR to locate and recover the remains and it will never be shared with any other state body for any other purpose.

“If information comes forward as a result of this reward it will be treated in exactly the same way.” 

Anyone with information on The Disappeared can contact:

  • The ICLVR in complete confidence on 00800 555 85500
  • By writing to ICLVR, PO Box 10827, Dublin 2
  • Or via the website
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