More than one body found in dig for ‘Disappeared’

Farm on reclaimed bog in Co Meath examined for several months by commission

 

The remains of more than one body have been found on bogland in Co Meath during a search for the body of men abducted and murdered by the IRA during the Troubles.

The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains confirmed that the remains of more than one body had been found in the bogland area near Coghalstown, Co Meath last night.

The area is linked with three of the so-called “disappeared”: Séamus Wright, Kevin McKee and Joe Lynskey.

The search of the reclaimed bogland has been underway since March based on information given to the ICLVR about the burial place of former Cistercian monk Mr Lynskey.

Earlier yesterday, when human remains were first found, it was thought they were those of Mr Lynskey.

Following the discovery of the remains of a second individual, the families of Mr Wright and Mr McKee were contacted.

Commission spokesman Dennis Godfrey said that “everyone who needs to know” had been informed of the discovery.

“Within that area, we believe that there were three there,” said Mr Godfrey.

“Obviously the search that has been going on actively since March was for Joe Lynskey, but all we can say at this stage is that there is more than one body in that grave.

“Work will continue through until tomorrow in terms of the recovery process.”

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 detect signs of human remains on the reclaimed bog. Detailed surveys and digs have been under way since March.

State Pathologist Marie Cassidy visited the scene yesterday.

Her office is expected to begin the process of postmortem and of formal identification of the remains once they have been recovered from the burial site today.

 

Buried together

It is believed that all information received to date about two people being buried together or in close proximity to each other has been about Mr Wright and Mr McKee; who both disappeared from west Belfast in 1972.

 

All of the disappeared were buried in unmarked graves. Searches have recovered the remains of a number of the disappearerd 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 last night 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.