Bishop appeal on Disappeared at special ceremony in Meath
Call for information to help ease the ‘nightmare’ of loved ones
Family, relatives, friends and locals attending a ceremony organised by the Wave Trauma Centre, where the Bishop of Meath, Dr Michael Smith, led prayers for the Disappeared of the Northern Troubles, at a bog in Oristown, Co Meath, where it is thought some bodies of the Disappeared are buried. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
A Catholic bishop at a special ceremony in Co Meath has urged anyone with information about the Disappeared to bring it forward to help ease the “nightmare” of their loved ones.
The Bishop of Meath, Dr Michael Smith, joined more than 100 people for a ceremony organised by the Wave Trauma Centre to remember the Disappeared in Oristown, Co Meath on Saturday.
Most particularly the service was held to try to persuade anyone with information about three of the Disappeared believed to be buried in the area to come forward.
Ten of the 17 bodies have been recovered since the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains was established in 1999 but the search continues for seven of those still missing.
They include Brendan Megraw who disappeared from Twinbrook in Belfast in 1978 and is believed to have been buried in the Oristown area.
The bodies of Kevin McKee and Séamus Wright who were both taken from West Belfast in 1972 are believed to be buried in Wilkingstown, a short distance from Oristown. All three were abducted, killed and secretly buried by the IRA.
Bishop Smith led family, friends and supporters of the Disappeared in prayers for Mr Megraw at the bog where he is believed to be buried.
Earlier he prayed with Phil McKee at nearby Wilkinstown where it is thought that her brother Kevin and Séamus Wright are buried.
“The horror and barbarity of what they suffered caused the deepest of pain which was only added to by the callous manner in which their bodies were disposed,” said Bishop Smith.
In relation to those responsible Bishop Smith said: “Many act foolishly along life’s journey, especially when young and immature. One would hope that the maturity of years and an appreciation of the deep-seated pain still blighting the lives of the families, as well as being true to one’s conscience, would encourage anyone with even the slightest piece of information to come forward.”
Bishop Smith paid tribute to the work of the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains. The joint commissioners of the body, Sir Kenneth Bloomfield and Frank Murray attended the ceremony.
“No file is ever closed but we desperately need more information,” said Mr Murray on Saturday.
He said all information that comes to the commission is totally confidential and over the years where the commission has successfully recovered remains there have been no arrests or prosecutions of people who have come forward.
Wave Trauma Centre chief executive Sandra Peake said the families were heartened by the number of local people who attended the ceremony.