Border search resumes for Columba McVeigh

Columba McVeigh was 17 when he was abducted and murdered in October 1975

The site at Bragan Bog in Co Monaghan was searched last April and again in the Autumn. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

The site at Bragan Bog in Co Monaghan was searched last April and again in the Autumn. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

 

The search for one of the IRA’s so-called disappeared victims has resumed in a vast bog near the border.

Columba McVeigh was 17 when he was abducted and murdered by the IRA in Dublin in October 1975.

The painstaking search began again earlier today near Bragan in Co Monaghan, by the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains (ICLVR).

It was excavated last April and again in the autumn, when the search was halted due to extreme weather conditions.

The commission said: “Today’s search is merely a re-start of the previous search operation.

“Regrettably, to date, the remains of Columba McVeigh have not been found.”

The missing teenager was from Donaghmore in Co Tyrone, but vanished while living in Dublin.

Columba’s relatives have had their hopes raised several times over the last few years when a series of digs was ordered in the county to end their near-38-year search for answers over his killing and disappearance.

His mother Vera died six years ago.

Despite extensive searches across Monaghan, including the excavation of a grave next to Urbleshanny church, near Scotstown, he remains on the list of the disappeared.

Hundreds of mature trees on the bog near Bragan were cut down last year to open the site up for excavation, and to allow forensic archaeologists to inspect roots.

Fifteen men and one woman were murdered and secretly buried by republican paramilitaries during the Troubles. Nine bodies have been recovered to-date.

More than 52 acres of land — mostly bleak, barren and remote bogland — has been excavated by the commission, set up after the Belfast Agreement, in the search for all the disappeared.

The remains of Columba, Joseph Lynskey, Seamus Wright, Kevin McKee, Robert Nairac, Brendan Megraw and Seamus Ruddy have yet to be located.

The commission made a fresh appeal for anyone with information on the disappeared to come forward.

“Any information received is entirely confidential and can only be used to locate victims,” it said.

“It cannot be passed to any other agency, nor can it be used in a court of law.”

ends

PA