Minister for Justice Simon Harris is to visit Bragan Bog in Co Monaghan on Monday to highlight the ongoing search for Columba McVeigh, one of the people regarded as “Disappeared” during the Troubles.
A sixth search resumed in April for the remains of the 19 year old from Donaghmore in Co Tyrone who was last seen in November 1975. McVeigh was abducted, murdered and secretly buried by the IRA.
Speaking at the 21st anniversary of the unveiling of the Missing Persons Monument in the grounds of Kilkenny Castle and Park, Mr Harris said on Sunday: “The work since the Good Friday Agreement in trying to find the bodies of the Disappeared to give some element of closure to families has largely been quite successful.
“Many loved ones have been brought home to their families, and many families have had the opportunity to have a funeral, to grieve, to bury a loved one. But there still remains a number of families [who have not found their loved ones].”
The Minister said he intends “to highlight the ongoing effort to find Columba McVeigh” for his family. Mr Harris said he has met the family on two occasions.
“My appeal is that we still believe that there are people alive on this island now who have information that could be extraordinarily helpful in terms of bringing Columba home to his family.
“With the passage of time, there is a fear that information will be lost. Perhaps there are people who have been sitting on information or concealing information for many years or perhaps somebody who has come across something which may be relevant. I would appeal to them to please, please come forward.”
Advances in DNA testing and improvements in information gathering “will contribute to progressing the investigation” of missing people, the Minister said.
He appealed to “anyone out there that may have information” to share it with An Garda Síochána.