Disappeared (Northern Ireland)

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The Disappeared is a term which refers to people believed to have been abducted, murdered and secretly buried during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.[1] The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains is in charge of locating the remaining bodies,[2] and was led by forensic archaeologist John McIlwaine.[3]

Background

Eighteen people, all Catholics, including one British Army officer, all males, except for Jean McConville (a convert) and Lisa Dorrian, were kidnapped and killed during the Troubles. Seventeen (all but Dorrian) were abducted and killed by republicans. Dorrian is believed to have been abducted by loyalists.[4][5][6]

The Provisional IRA admitted to being involved in the forced disappearance of nine of the sixteen – Eamon Molloy, Seamus Wright, Kevin McKee, Jean McConville, Columba McVeigh, Brendan Megraw, John McClory, Brian McKinney, and Danny McIlhone. British Army officer Robert Nairac, who disappeared from South Armagh, was a Mauritius-born Roman Catholic.[7][8] The organisation said they could only accurately locate the body of one of their victims, but gave rough ideas for the remaining eight.[9][10] As of May 2017, the remains of four of the victims have still not been found. Gareth O'Connor[11] is believed to have been killed by the IRA after the Good Friday Agreement.[12][13][14]

History

1970s

Jean McConville, a widowed mother of 10, disappeared in December 1972. Her body was found on a beach in County Louth in 2003; in October 2014 a man was arrested in connection with her murder,[15] and two further men were arrested in December 2014.[16]

Peter Wilson, 21, a native of West Belfast, with five siblings, was described as "a vulnerable man with learning difficulties".[17] He was abducted by the IRA in the summer of 1973, somewhere in the St James area of Belfast, killed and secretly buried at Waterfoot, County Antrim.[18]

Columba McVeigh, a 17-year-old from Donaghmore, County Tyrone, disappeared in 1975. The IRA allege he had confessed to being a British Army agent, instructed to infiltrate the IRA.[19]

Brendan Megraw disappeared in 1978. In August 2014 a bog in County Meath was searched for his body,[20] with human remains discovered in September.[21]

Gerard Evans, 24, was a man from Crossmaglen who disappeared while hitchhiking in County Monaghan in March 1979.[22] In March 2008 a map was given to Evans' aunt. In 2008, the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains appealed for more information regarding his disappearance.[23] Remains were found in County Louth in October 2010,[24] which were later confirmed as being Evans' in November 2010.[25] An alleged member of the Provisional IRA South Armagh Brigade told the Sunday Tribune that Evans was executed for being an informer.[26]

1980s

Charles Armstrong was a 57-year-old father-of-five who went missing in Crossmaglen while walking to mass in 1981; his car was later found in Dundalk.[22] The IRA denied any involvement in his disappearance at the time. Armstrong's family began a fresh, private search for his remains in October 2003.[27] They were located in County Monaghan, Ireland in July 2010.[28] No reason has ever been publicly proferred for Armstrong's abduction and murder.

2000s

In March 2005, Dorrian disappeared after attending a party at a caravan park in Ballyhalbert. She is believed to have been taken by loyalists.[14][29]

In September 2015 the bodies of Seamus Wright and Kevin McKee were found in a bog in Coghalstown, County Meath, Republic of Ireland.[30]

In May 2017 a body was found in a forest in northern France identified as that of Seamus Ruddy.[31]

List of Disappeared

Name Location[a] Age Year of disappearance Year of body being found Suspects Reference(s)
Charles Armstrong Crossmaglen 57 1981 2010 Republicans [32]
Lisa Dorrian Ballyhalbert 25 2005 Still missing Loyalists [33]
Gerard Evans County Monaghan, Ireland 24 1979 2010 Republicans [32]
Joe Lynskey Belfast 1972 Still missing Republicans [22][34][35][36]
John McClory Belfast 17 1978 1999 Republicans [22][37]
Jean McConville Belfast 38 1972 2003 Republicans [22][38]
Danny McIlhone Belfast 1981 2008 Republicans [22][39]
Kevin McKee South Armagh 1972 2015 Republicans [22][40]
Brian McKinney Belfast 22 1978 1999 Republicans [22][41]
Columba McVeigh Dublin, Ireland 19 1975 Still missing Republicans [22][42][43]
Brendan Megraw Belfast 24 1978 2014 Republicans [21][22]
Eamon Molloy Belfast 22 1975 1999 Republicans [22][44][45]
Robert Nairac Dromintee, South Armagh 28 1977 Still missing Republicans [22][46][47]
Gareth O'Connor Newtownhamilton 24 2003 2005 Republicans [12]
Seamus Ruddy Paris, France 32 1985 2017 Republicans [22][48] [49]
Eugene Simons Castlewellan, County Down 26 1981 1984 Republicans [22]
Peter Wilson Belfast 21 1973 2010 Republicans [22][50][51][52]
Seamus Wright South Armagh 1972 2015 Republicans [22][40]
  1. ^ Location of disappearance; in Northern Ireland unless otherwise stated

References

  1. ^ "About the Disappeared". The Disappeared of Northern Ireland. Archived from the original on 18 November 2013. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  2. ^ "Never lose heart, 'disappeared' families told". BBC News. 4 June 1999. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  3. ^ "The Disappeared: Archaeologist John McIlwaine dies". BBC News. 17 September 2014. Retrieved 18 September 2014. 
  4. ^ Northern Ireland Disappeared, reuters.com; accessed 7 September 2015.
  5. ^ "The Disappeared". Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  6. ^ "Disappeared issue 'a festering wound' says McGuinness". BBC News. 5 November 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  7. ^ Robert Nairac profile, bbc.co.uk; accessed 7 September 2015.
  8. ^ "Profiles of the 'disappeared'". BBC News. 28 May 1999. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  9. ^ "'Disappeared' return to haunt Ireland's conscience". BBC News. 7 June 1999. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  10. ^ "IRA: No more clues on 'disappeared'". BBC News. 1 June 1999. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  11. ^ Gareth O'Connor profile, cain.ulst.ac.uk; accessed 7 September 2015.
  12. ^ a b "Gareth O'Connor profile". The Disappeared of Northern Ireland. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  13. ^ Lisa Dorrian profile, cain.ulst.ac.uk; accessed 7 September 2015.
  14. ^ a b Henry McDonald (31 July 2005). "Looking for Lisa". The Observer. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  15. ^ "Jean McConville murder: 73-year-old man arrested in Dunmurry". BBC News. 30 October 2014. Retrieved 4 November 2016. 
  16. ^ "Jean McConville murder: Two men arrested over 'Disappeared' death". BBC News. 22 December 2014. Retrieved 22 December 2014. 
  17. ^ "Peter Wilson: 'Disappeared' by the IRA, found at the beach his family treasured". BelfastTelegraph.co.uk. 3 November 2010. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  18. ^ "CAIN: Sutton Index of Deaths". Cain.ulst.ac.uk. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  19. ^ "Adams 'at heart' of IRA's most shameful killing campaign", The Guardian, 30 September 2002.
  20. ^ "Remains The Disappeared: Meath bog to be searched for Brendan Megraw". BBC News. 22 August 2014. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  21. ^ a b "The Disappeared: Human remains found in search for Brendan Megraw". BBC News. 1 October 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Who were the 'Disappeared'?". BBC News. 4 November 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2014. 
  23. ^ "Appeal from Disappeared searchers". BBC News. 1 October 2008. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  24. ^ "Family of "Disappeared" Gerry Evans hope for closure". BBC News. 19 October 2010. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  25. ^ "Remains were 'Disappeared' Crossmaglen man Gerry Evans". BBC News. 29 November 2010. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  26. ^ Suzanne Breen (17 October 2010). "Masked IRA man's map leads to body in Louth". Sunday Tribune. Retrieved 18 October 2010. 
  27. ^ "Fresh 'Disappeared' search". BBC News. 22 October 2003. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  28. ^ "Widow's relief as remains found in 'Disappeared' search". BBC News. 31 July 2010. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  29. ^ Rebecca Black (6 November 2013). "Lisa Dorrian: Disappeared Jean McConville's son urges unionist leaders to press loyalist paramilitaries over what happened to missing woman". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  30. ^ Wright and McKee bodies located, bbc.co.uk; accessed 10 September 2015.
  31. ^ "Seamus Ruddy: Human remains found in search of French forest". belfasttelegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 10 May 2017. 
  32. ^ a b "RTÉ Special report". RTÉ News. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  33. ^ "Lisa Dorrian profile". The Disappeared of Northern Ireland. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  34. ^ "Commission to investigate Joe Lynskey death". BBC News. 19 February 2010. Retrieved 18 April 2014. 
  35. ^ "Forty years later, IRA finally admits to man’s ‘execution'". Belfast Telegraph. 9 February 2010. Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  36. ^ "Buried Secrets". The Pensive Quill. 19 February 2010. Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  37. ^ "Body finds encourage searchers". BBC News. 30 June 2009. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  38. ^ "Jean McConville's daughter recalls mother's abduction by IRA". BBC News. 4 November 2013. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  39. ^ "Family of IRA victim 'at peace'". BBC News. 19 December 2008. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  40. ^ a b Rosie Cowan (30 September 2002). "Adams 'at heart' of IRA's most shameful killing campaign". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  41. ^ "'My tears for Brian'". BBC News. 17 July 2002. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  42. ^ "Columba McVeigh: Brother calls for more information from IRA". BBC News. 23 July 2013. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  43. ^ "Columba McVeigh". The Disappeared of Northern Ireland. Archived from the original on 22 November 2013. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  44. ^ "'Disappeared' victim identified". BBC News. 20 July 1999. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  45. ^ "A prayer before dying: IRA took priest to Disappeared victim before murder". BBC News. 3 November 2013. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  46. ^ "McGuinness in Nairac body appeal". BBC News. 20 June 2007. Retrieved 18 April 2014. 
  47. ^ "RTE Prime Time Cased Profile (with video)". RTE PrimeTime. 3 May 2017. Retrieved 6 May 2017. 
  48. ^ "Family of INLA murder man misled". BBC News. 22 July 2008. Retrieved 18 April 2014. 
  49. ^ "Remains found in France confirmed to be Seamus Ruddy". The Journal.ie. 10 May 2017. 
  50. ^ "Fresh 'Disappeared' dig for Peter Wilson announced". BBC News. 26 October 2010. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  51. ^ "Remains were 'Disappeared' man Peter Wilson's". BBC News. 14 December 2010. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  52. ^ "Inquest into death of 'Disappeared' man Peter Wilson". BBC News. 11 March 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 

External links

  • The Disappeared, bbc.co.uk
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