Site cleared in search for remains of IRA murder victim Joe Lynskey

Maria Lynskey says it was a cruel way for people to end their lives

Maria Lynskey (centre), niece of Joe Lynskey,  Jon Hill  of the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains, and Sandra Peake of the Wave Trauma Centre, Belfast, at the dig site near Oristown, Co Meath. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Maria Lynskey (centre), niece of Joe Lynskey, Jon Hill of the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains, and Sandra Peake of the Wave Trauma Centre, Belfast, at the dig site near Oristown, Co Meath. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

 

Work on the clearance of a site of less than an acre started at Oristown bog in Co Meath on Monday, in a renewed search for the remains of Joe Lynskey, a former Cistercian monk who was abducted and murdered by the IRA 45 years ago.

Heavy equipment was moved on to the site by the Independent Commission for the Recovery of Victims’ Remains, and contractors were cutting down trees planted in 1975.

Jon Hill, senior investigator with the commission, said it would be at least two weeks before ground penetrating radar could be brought into play.

The work was being conducted at a site 150m from where the remains of Brendan Megraw, another of the Disappeared, were recovered in the same bog in 2014.

At Oristown, Maria Lynskey, a niece of Mr Lynskey, placed a prayer card and a miraculous medal at the site being cleared.

She was accompanied by Ann Morgan, a sister of Seamus Ruddy, who had been abducted and murdered and whose remains were recovered in 2017 at a site in France on a third search by the independent commission, and Sandra Peake of the Wave Trauma Centre in Belfast.

They also visited the site where Mr Megraw’s body was found.

Terrible blow

Ms Lynskey said it was a cruel way for people to end their lives, in lonely places where it would be difficult to recover remains for proper burial. It was also a terrible blow for the families not to be told for decades where their loved ones were buried.

Geoff Knupfer, lead investigator with the commission, said that after each unsuccessful search they went back and reviewed all the information to see if there were other lines of inquiry to be pursued.

“That’s what we have done in this case, and as a result we are going to look at quite a small area of woodland at Oristown near where they found Brendan Megraw’s body in 2014. We anticipate that this will not be a long search one way or the other.”