Search for ‘Disappeared’ Columba McVeigh to resume in Co Monaghan

Donor puts up $60,000 reward for information leading to recovery of three victims

The search for Columba McVeigh at Bragan bog near Emyvale, Co Monaghan, last year. Photograph: Alan Lewis/Photopress

The search for Columba McVeigh at Bragan bog near Emyvale, Co Monaghan, last year. Photograph: Alan Lewis/Photopress

 

The search for the remains of Disappeared victim Columba McVeigh resumes on Tuesday in Co Monaghan.

The Disappeared is a group of 16 victims who were abducted, murdered and secretly buried by republicans during the conflict in Northern Ireland.

So far the remains of 13 of the 16 victims have been recovered but Mr McVeigh and two other men – former Cistercian monk Joe Lynskey; and British army captain Robert Nairac – are unaccounted for.

Mr McVeigh was abducted, murdered and secretly buried by the IRA in 1975.

A search for him, in Bragan bog near Emyvale, Co Monaghan, which started in September 2018, was called off in November 2018 when weather conditions deteriorated to the point it was too dangerous to continue.

Jon Hill, a senior investigator with the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains, said the bog had now dried out sufficiently for the search to resume.

Mr Hill also said the team was about halfway through the planned search area but would not put a timescale on how long the latest attempt to find Mr McVeigh will take.

“What I can absolutely guarantee is that the highly skilled contractors and forensic archaeologists working here will do everything they humanly can to get the result that we all know will mean so much to the McVeigh family and all those who support them”.

Disappeared’ victim Columba McVeigh, who was abducted by the IRA in 1975
Disappeared’ victim Columba McVeigh, who was abducted by the IRA in 1975

Reward for information

Last month the CrimeStoppers charity announced an anonymous donor had put up a reward of $60,000 (€53,350) for information that results in the recovery of remains in the three outstanding Disappeared cases from the 1970s.

Lead investigator for the independent commission Geoff Knupfer said the search for Mr Mc Veigh was well under way before the reward offer, and it can only be claimed on the basis of new information going directly to CrimeStoppers that results in the recovery of remains.

“As Jon has said, we want to find Columba as quickly as possible, and as things stand that would be on the basis of existing information,” he said.

“If that proves to be the case and we find him, then the $20,000 allocated to Columba’s case will be divided equally between the other two, raising the reward figure to $30,000 each for the recovery of the remains of Joe Lynskey and Robert Nairac.

“I want to stress that for the reward to be triggered, new information must be registered with CrimeStoppers and it must result in the recovery of the remains.

“All information that goes to CrimeStoppers will be given only to the [commission] and no one else and at all times and at all stages it will be treated in complete and total confidence.”