Minister for Justice Simon Harris, TD, accompanied by the Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys, TD today visited the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims Remains (ICLVR) search site in Bragan Bog in County Monaghan.
The ICLVR is responsible for facilitating the location of the remains of the disappeared and is currently searching for the remains of Columba McVeigh at Bragan bog. The Disappeared were victims of paramilitary violence who were murdered and secretly buried during the Troubles.
The Ministers met with the ICLVR team who have been carrying out this painstaking work over a number of years. The first search for Columba took place at Bragan bog back in 1999. The current search is the sixth such search.
Minister Harris said:
“The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims Remains, with the support of the Irish and British Governments, continues to work tirelessly on behalf of the families of the Disappeared.
The Government is deeply committed to continue supporting the efforts being made to locate those who have not yet been found.
Earlier this month I met with the families of the Disappeared and heard how, for decades, they had to endure a singularly cruel experience, facing not only the tragedy and injustice of losing a loved one, but also not knowing where that loved one was buried or if they might be recovered.
The success that the Commission has had is down to the skill and determination of first class investigators together with excellent forensic archaeologists and the expert machinery operators required for excavation on such difficult terrain.
Today I had an opportunity to meet many of these dedicated professionals and thank them for their commitment to this complex work.”
The Commission has a total of 17 persons on its list of the Disappeared and, to date, the remains of 11 of the Disappeared have been recovered through the Commission's efforts and two other victims were recovered but not found by the Commission. Four people remain to be found – Joseph Lynskey, Columba McVeigh, Robert Nairac and Seamus Maguire.
During the visit, the Ministers made a public appeal for information. Minister Harris said:
The role of the ICLVR is purely humanitarian. Its only aim is to recover the remains of the disappeared in order to allow the families to give their loved ones a proper burial. It is important to remember that any information provided to the Commission is provided in the strictest confidence.
There are still four families that await the return of their loved ones. Today we are with the family of Columba McVeigh who are hoping that this search will be the one that brings his remains home for burial. The families of Joseph Lynskey, Robert Nairac and Seamus Maguire also await the return of their loved ones.
I would call on anyone with information that could help recover the remains of those still missing to pass that information to the Commission without delay, safe in the knowledge that it will be treated in the strictest confidence”.
Minister Humphreys said:
“It’s nearly 50 years now since Columba McVeigh was murdered and all the evidence points to his remains being buried in Bragan Bog. Somebody out there knows what happened to this young man.
I’d ask them to come forward with any information about this case so that we can bring closure to what has been a long running and deeply traumatic experience for the family of Columba McVeigh.”
Note for Editors:
The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains (ICLVR) was established by an Agreement between the Government of Ireland and the Government of the United Kingdom signed on 27 April 1999, and by legislation enacted in both jurisdictions.
The ICLVR is responsible for facilitating the location of the remains of victims of paramilitary violence who were murdered and secretly buried arising from the conflict in Northern Ireland.
The two current Commissioners are Mr. Tim Dalton and Mrs Rosalie Flanagan.
The Department of Justice, in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Office, provides financial support for the Commission.
The Commission has in place a confidential free-phone number and post office box address through which information can be passed to it. Any such information will be treated in the strictest confidence and will not be used for any purpose other than locating the remains of victims.
The ICLVR can be contacted in confidence by telephone: 00800-55585500 International: +353 1 602 8655. E-mail : Secretary@iclvr.ie By post to: ICLVR PO Box 10827
The 17 Disappeared are:
- Joe Lynskey Missing
- Columba McVeigh Missing
- Robert Nairac Missing
- Seamus Maguire Missing
- Eugene Simons located 1984
- John McClory located 1999
- Brian McKinney located 1999
- Eamon Molloy located 1999
- Jean McConville located 2003
- Danny McIlhone located 2008
- Charles Armstrong located 2010
- Gerard Evans located 2010
- Peter Wilson located 2010
- Brendan Megraw located 2014
- Kevin McKee located 2015
- Seamus Wright located 2015
- Seamus Ruddy located 2017