Catholic Primate appeals for information on remaining NI Disappeared

Archbishops asks for compassion and mercy by sharing it with Independent Commission

Catholic Primate Archbishop Eamon Martin has appealed for a anyone with information about the so-called Disappeared in Northern Ireland to provide it to the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains. "For the love of God, do not remain silent. Have compassion," he said.

The Commission was set up in 1999 to obtain information, in confidence, which may lead to finding remains of victims of paramilitary violence, referred to as “The Disappeared”, who were murdered and buried in secret during the Northern Ireland conflict.

Of the 17 missing people, the remains of 13 have been recovered.

Archbishop Martin said "our thoughts and prayers today are especially with the families of Columba McVeigh, Joe Lynskey, Robert Nairac and Lisa Dorian. The recent unsuccessful searches for Columba in Braggan Bog and for Lisa near Ballyhalbert, must have brought you, their families, so much pain. Our hearts go out to you."


Tyrone teenager Columba McVeigh, former monk Joe Lynskey, British Army Captain Robert Nairac are all believed to have died at the hands of republicans while Lisa Dorria is believed to have been disappeared by loyalist paramilitaries at Ballyhalbert Co Down in 2005.

Speaking directly to the relatives, Archbishop Martin said “not to know where your murdered loved one is buried must bring an unbearable burden of suffering – some of you have carried that burden for almost 50 years. Not to be able to grieve properly, to have a Christian burial, to lay flowers on a grave – we cannot imagine your pain.”

He continued that “conscious of this heartache, I appeal once more today, that anyone out there who has even the slightest amount of information, to show compassion and mercy by sharing it with the Independent Commission. It is never too little, or too late, to bring the key that will ease the suffering of others, and help them find peace and consolation. For the love of God, do not remain silent. Have compassion.”

Archbishop Martin was speaking at the annual Mass for the Disappeared in St Patrick's Cathedral Armagh, which he described to the relatives as "a humble expression of our compassion for you."

He said: “we also remember that there are other families who continue to struggle with the disappearance of their loved one, including those who may not have been recognised on the official list of the Disappeared.”

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times