Funeral of ‘Disappeared’ Seamus Wright 42 years after death

Mourners told it took 16 years to locate remains after IRA had admitted responsibility

Friends and family carry the remains Seamus Wright to his funeral Mass in St Agnes’  Church  in Belfast on Tuesday. The inset is a picture of Seamus Wright which was placed on his coffin. Photograph: Reuters

Friends and family carry the remains Seamus Wright to his funeral Mass in St Agnes’ Church in Belfast on Tuesday. The inset is a picture of Seamus Wright which was placed on his coffin. Photograph: Reuters

 

The funeral Mass of Seamus Wright, one of the ‘Disappeared’ killed by the IRA in October 1972, was told on Tuesday it had taken a very long time to get to this point.

His remains and those of Kevin McKee (16), buried on Monday and also killed by the IRA in October 1972, were discovered at a site in Co Meath last June and their identities confirmed earlier this month.

Speaking at Mr Wright’s funeral Mass, at St Agnes’s Catholic Church at Andersonstown in Belfast, celebrant Fr Brendan Callanan said those responsible for his death had admitted to the killing in 1999 and indicated where his remains had been placed.

He told mourners searches for the remains of the married and a “deeply committed” family man, were not initially successful.

However, a renewed commitment and perseverance resulted in the remains being discovered in the early part of the summer, 16 years later.

“Those who knew him are aware that there was a strong religious dimension to his life. Like many young people, he had an interest in sport,” the mourners were told.

Among the personal items of the dead man was a programme for the 1968 All Ireland Football Final, in which Down beat Kerry. There was also a memento which carried the signature of Matt Busby. “The GAA ban did not get in his way,” Fr Callahan noted.

Mourners were told Mr Wright was a young man, just 25 years of age, when he was killed and Fr Callanan said “the death of a young person seems to hit us harder. In this kind of circumstance we need to be supportive of one another”.

Mr Wright’s sister Briege thanked those who had supported the family during the 16 years since it was confirmed the IRA had killed her brother.

She was grateful to those who provided information which led to the location of his remains, and she thanked Fr Callanan and the late Fr Alec Reid of Clonard monastery.

She also expressed gratitude to members of the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims, and the gardaí and scientists involved in the search for and confirmation of her brother’s remains.

Chief mourners were Seamus Wright’s siblings Patrick, Rita, Anthony, Gerard, Hugh, Michael, Briege, and Liam.

Other priests taking part in the Mass included Fr John O’Brien, parish priest of Oristown, Co Meath, where the remains were found; Fr Paul Turley of the Clonard monastery, and local parish priest Fr Thomas McGlynn.

Afterwards Mr Wright’s remains were taken to Roselawn crematorium.

Of the 17 ‘disappeared’, the remains of four have yet to be found.

These are Joe Lynskey, who disappeared in 1972, Columba McVeigh in 1975, Robert Nairac in 1977, and Seamus Ruddy in 1985.