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The Disappeared: New search for remains of former monk to begin in Co Meath

Investigators are to begin clearing a small area of land in Oristown.

ICLVR investigator Geoff Knupfer holds a picture of Joe Lynskey at the start of a previous search.
ICLVR investigator Geoff Knupfer holds a picture of Joe Lynskey at the start of a previous search.
Image: AFP/Getty Images

A NEW SEARCH for the remains of a former Cistercian monk killed by the IRA in 1972 will commence this morning, the organisation tasked with locating the bodies of the remaining ‘Disappeared’ has confirmed.

The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains (ICLVR) says preparatory work will start today to clear a small area of land in Oristown in Co Meath as investigators search for the body of Joe Lynskey.

It is hoped the search can begin in the next few days depending on how long it takes to clear a section of trees.

An extensive search for Lynskey’s remains was carried out in nearby Coghalstown in 2015.

During that search, the remains of two other members of The Disappeared – Seamus Wright and Kevin McKee – were found, but investigators drew a blank in regard to Lynskey.

“As we do after every unsuccessful search we go back and review all the information that we have pulled together to see if there are other lines of inquiry to be pursued,” Geoff Knupfer, the lead investigator with the ICLVR, said in a statement.

That’s what we’ve done in this case and as a result we are going to look at quite a small area of woodland at Oristown near where we found Brendan Megraw in 2014.
We will start as soon as the land is cleared of trees and our contractors and forensic archaeologists can get to work.
We anticipate that this will not be a long search either way.

Knupfer added:

The Lynskey family have been informed and they know only too well that there is no guarantee of success but we will continue to do everything we can.

joe Joe Lynskey Source: WAVE Trauma Centre

Of the 16 Disappeared, the remains of 13 have been recovered.

The remaining three are Joe Lynskey, Columba McVeigh and Robert Nairac.

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Knupfer also issued this appeal for information on the three remaining cases:

Any information provided to the ICLVR is held in complete confidence and can only be used for the location of the Disappeared and cannot be shared with other agencies for any other purpose.
Anyone with information on any of the outstanding cases should contact the ICLVR on 00800 555 85500, by writing to ICLVR, PO Box 10827, Dublin 2, or via the website www.iclvr.ie.

Lynskey was a former Cistercian monk from the Beechmount area of west Belfast. He went missing during the summer of 1972.

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

The Disappeared was the name given to the group of 16 people who went missing and were presumed to have been killed during The Troubles.

The Provisional IRA has admitted responsibility for 13 of those deaths. A further death – that of Seamus Ruddy – was admitted by the INLA. Ruddy’s remains were located by the ICLVR last year in the organisation’s first search to take place outside of the island of Ireland.

Related: ‘And then there was nothing’ – funeral takes place of Disappeared INLA victim Seamus Ruddy >

Related: Murdered by the IRA, the body of this British Army Captain has been missing for 40 years >

About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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