THE leader of Ireland’s Catholics has made a fresh appeal for information about the The Disappeared.
Cardinal Sean Brady said everyone was entitled to a Christian burial and their loved ones are entitled to closure.
During the Troubles, 16 people were abducted and murdered, mainly by the IRA, with the bodies buried in show graves.
To their families, they had vanished without trace. Now they are simply called ‘The Disappeared.
The remains of nine victims have since been recovered over the years.
However, seven families are still hoping that one day their loved ones will be found.
One of those still missing is Columba McVeigh.
The 19-year-old from Co Tyrone was abducted in 1975 by the IRA, murdered and his body dumped in a shallow grave somewhere in Co Monaghan.
A number of searches of bogland has been carried out in recent years for his remains without success.
“The death of a loved one is always a heartbreaking time for those left behind,” Cardinal Brady said, following the annual memorial service at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh.
“But when your loved one is taken away as these victims were, without any trace, the pain is almost too much to bear.
“Every person is entitled to a full Christian burial, and every family is entitled to closure and to be thankful that their loved has finally been laid to rest.
“This Easter, I would appeal to anyone who may have any information – no matter how small or insignificant they think it is – to contact the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims Remains.
“Without your help, the remaining families will continue to suffer unnecessary pain.”
The ICLVR welcomed the Cardinal’s Easter appeal and confirmed once again that every possible lead and fresh piece of information is being investigated by a dedicated team.
Co-Commissioner Frank Murray said: “Once again we are gathered here to pray that those who have any information regarding the whereabouts of the bodies of the ‘Disappeared’ will come forward.
“This is important for families who want to give a Christian burial and bring them the peace of laying their loved ones to rest.
“We hope that Cardinal Brady’s appeal will strike a chord with those who hold any information.”
The ICLVR was established in 1999 to receive information and facilitate the location of Disappeared remains. Any information it receives cannot be used to bring about a prosecution.
The Disappeared confidential international free phone number is 00800 555 85500.
The PO Box address is ICLVR, PO Box 10827, Dublin 2.