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Dublin: 2°C Wednesday 20 January 2021

"More than one body" found in Co Meath search for ‘Disappeared’ Joe Lynskey

A forensic archaeologist made the discovery today.

Maria Lynskey on farmland in Coghalstown where it's believed the body of her uncle is buried.
Maria Lynskey on farmland in Coghalstown where it's believed the body of her uncle is buried.
Image: Niall Carson

Updated 8.25 pm

INVESTIGATORS SAID THIS evening that the remains of more than one person were found at the site in Co Meath where a team has been searching for Joe Lynskey, ‘disappeared’ in 1972.

In a statement this evening a spokesperson for the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains said:

[The Commission] has confirmed that during the recovery process at Coghalstown tonight (Thursday) it was found that there was more than one body in the grave.

The state pathologist has left the site for the evening, and “the recovery process will continue into tomorrow.”

In March, the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains narrowed the search down to a 15 acre site in Coghalstown in Co. Meath.

It was announced earlier today that human remains were found by a forensic archaeologist.

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 took responsibility for his death in 2010 with a spokesperson confirming he was killed and buried in an unmarked grave.

Maria Lynskey, the neice of Joe Lynskey, issued a statement today on behalf of the Lynskey family.

We would like to thank the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims Remains and those who have engaged with the Commission in the search for Joe.
The family ask for privacy at this time. We will issue a fuller statement in due course.Our thoughts are with the other families whose loved ones remain disappeared.

She urged anyone who can help to contact the Commission on the confidential line 0080055585500.

The Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald has expressed her hope that another of the families of the Disappeared will be able to give their loved one a proper burial.

I hope the discovery of remains in Co. Meath will allow another chapter to be closed in the tragic saga of the Disappeared.

For a family to be bereaved but denied the opportunity to bury their loved one is a trauma that is hard to imagine. At this time I would like to remember all of the families of the Disappeared and the suffering which they have endured.

In particular, my thoughts are with those families who still await recovery of the remains of their loved ones.

Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams said in a statement today that he welcomed the news, adding:

I welcome this news. I hope the identity of the remains can be quickly verified and that this discovery will bring some closure to the family and loved ones of Joe Lynskey.This is the 11th set of remains recovered since the Commission was established.

I 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.

Any information passed to the Commission cannot be used in a court of law or transmitted to any other agency and those passing on this information have absolute immunity in relation to this information.

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

To date the remains of ten of the sixteen Disappeared victims have been recovered.

First published 3.10pm

Additional reporting by Dan Mac Guill.

Read: Team to start digging for remains of ‘Disappeared’ Joe Lynskey >

Read: Specialist dog searches for unmarked grave of Joe Lynskey >

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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