Meath remains believed to be of Séamus Wright and Kevin McKee

Bogland search for Joe Lynskey remains to continue

Local priest Father John O’Brien with members of Séamus Wright’s family at the site in Coghalstown, Co Meath. Photograph: PA

Local priest Father John O’Brien with members of Séamus Wright’s family at the site in Coghalstown, Co Meath. Photograph: PA

 

Two bodies unearthed in a field in Co Meath in a search in Co Meath are now believed to be the those of Séamus Wright and Kevin McKee who were abducted and killed by the IRA in the 1970s.

Seamus Wright went missing on October 2nd, 1972. He was married and from Belfast. Kevin McKee was also from Belfast and he disappeared on the same day.

DNA samples from the remains discovered on the site at Coghalstown have been sent for testing and the remains themselves are due to be taken away later on Friday.

The family of Mr Wright have arrived at the scene about 10kms north of Navan and relatives of Mr McKee are expected there shortly.

The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains which has been painstakingly stripping away topsoil from the reclaimed bog since March said the search would continue for the remains of former Cistercian priest Joe Lynskey who the IRA said they killed and buried in the area.

Speaking to the media at the site of the excavation, Commission spokesman Geoff Knupfer said the mood among those present was one of “elation and sadness”.

He said he believed the discovery of the remains, if established to be MrWright and Mr McKee would bring “closure” to the families of the men.

The forensic dig at Coghalstown involved the slow examination of more than six hectares of reclaimed bog. A sniffer dog was also brought in late last year to help locate human remains.

All of the disappeared were buried in unmarked graves. Searches have recovered the remains of a number of the disappeared based on information provided since the Belfast Agreement.

A statement issued on behalf of the Lynskey family yesterday said they were grateful to the commission and to those who had engaged with it in the search.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams TD welcomed news that remains had been discovered.

“The uncertainty over who has been recovered must be hugely traumatic for the families involved. I am sure that the commission will move as speedily as it can to verify the identity of those who have been found,” he said.

The list of disappeared includes Gareth O’Connor, who was murdered in 2003. His body was recovered on June 11th, 2005 at Victoria Quay, Newry Canal, Co Louth. The commission has investigated 16 abductions and murders.

To date, the remains of 10 of the disappeared have been recovered, the most recent being Brendan Megraw, whose remains were found in Oristown bog, also in Co Meath, last October.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said she hopes the suffering of at least some of the families will now be eased.

“The work of the Commission is complex but it is a humanitarian task aimed at ending the suffering of those families brutalised by the disappearance of their loved ones so many years ago”, she said.

The Commission will continue its work to find the remains of those who have yet to be found.