Bishop Smith to lead prayers for Disappeared near suspected burial sites

First photograph of Joe Lynskey, one of the earliest victims, is released

Joe Lynskey will be among the members of the Disappeared who will be remembered at a special ceremony in Co Meath tomorrow led by the Catholic Bishop of Meath Dr Michael Smith.

Mr Lynskey was one of the first of the Disappeared to have been abducted and murdered by the IRA and then secretly buried.

He was killed in 1972 but it was only three years ago that the IRA admitted he was one of these victims.

Up until now no picture was available of the missing man. Finally a photograph has been located and this was yesterday released to the press by the Wave Trauma Centre.


The Centre is a charity which provides support for those who have been bereaved, injured or traumatised during the Troubles.

In early 2010 a former IRA commander said the organisation had “executed” West Belfastman Mr Lynskey and buried him in an unmarked grave.

The former paramilitary said at the time the location of his remains was not yet established.

Breached orders
He was killed after he was summoned to a meeting outside Belfast by the then IRA leadership. An IRA "court martial" found him guilty of breaches of IRA standing orders.

Mr Lynskey allegedly was in a relationship with the wife of an IRA man who was in prison at the time.

Mr Lynskey was seriously compromised because of the relationship, the IRA leadership ruled.

He was a former Cistercian monk who left the order after six to seven years, according to his family.

Bishop Smith is leading the ceremony for Mr Lynskey and all known 17 members of the Disappeared at Oristown in Co Meath at 2.30pm tomorrow.

Three of the victims are believed to be buried in the general area.

Bodies recovered
Ten of the 17 bodies have been recovered since the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains was established in 1999.

It is believed that Brendan Megraw who disappeared from Twinbrook is Belfast in 1978 was secretly buried in the Oristown area.

Two other bodies are thought be buried in Co Meath, Kevin McKee and Seamus Wright who were both taken from West Belfast in 1972.

Searches have been carried out at Wilkingstown, a short distance from Oristown.

Brendan Megraw’s brother Kieran who will attend the ceremony along with other families of the Disappeared said that the “nightmare” of such loss and disappearance doesn’t go away.

“For us to fully move on we need to bring the bodies home and we will continue to fight until that happens,” he said.

The Wave chief executive Sandra Peake said, "Many of the mothers of the Disappeared put their son's name on the family headstone, in effect passing on the responsibility for continuing the search to the next generation.

“We owe it to those mothers to do everything we can to end this torment,” she said yesterday.

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty is the former Northern editor of The Irish Times