Dympna Kerr (centre) carries a wreath with Irish Senator Emer Currie (centre right) (Niall Carson/PA)
02 November 2022

Families of Disappeared brave rain for walk in memory of loved ones

02 November 2022

Families of Disappeared victims of the Northern Ireland Troubles braved torrential rain and heavy winds to complete a silent walk in memory of their loved ones.

Relatives urged those involved in the deaths of their relatives to unburden their consciences and finally reveal where they are buried.

Seventeen people were disappeared by republican paramilitaries during the Troubles.

Aided by a commission set up to investigate their whereabouts, 13 have been found over the last two decades.

The remains of Co Tyrone teenager Columba McVeigh, former monk Joe Lynskey, British Army Captain Robert Nairac and Seamus Maguire, who was in his mid 20s and from near Lurgan, Co Armagh, have never been recovered.

Co Down hairdresser Lisa Dorrian, who vanished in the post-Troubles era from a caravan park in Ballyhalbert, Co Down in 2005, is now considered one of the remaining five Disappeared victims whose bodies are yet to be found.

Republican paramilitaries were not suspected in her case.

The annual All Souls Day walk to Parliament Buildings at Stormont in Belfast took place just weeks after fresh digs commenced for Columba McVeigh.

Forensic archaeologists and excavators are attempting to locate his remains at a site at Bragan Bog, near Emyvale in Co Monaghan.

We hope that those who have information that will help us to find our loved ones will come forward, feel it in their hearts to come forward and give that information

It is the sixth search to find him in the area since 1999.

On Wednesday, relatives gathered together under umbrellas to say prayers, led by priest Father Joe Gormley, for the return of the Disappeared prior to commencing a slow walk up the hill at Stormont to the steps of the parliament.

Columba McVeigh’s sister Dympna Kerr then laid a wreath on the steps bearing five white lilies to signify the five victims.

“We hope that those who have information that will help us to find our loved ones will come forward, feel it in their hearts to come forward and give that information,” she said.

Among those who joined the families on Wednesday was Emer Currie, a senator in the Oireachtas parliament in Dublin.

Ms Currie, a family friend of the McVeighs, said: “I felt it was important to be here today to support the McVeighs and the families of the Disappeared.

“The McVeighs are our family friends from Donaghmore, Co Tyrone.

“My dad, Austin Currie, did what he could in Tyrone and Dublin to support Vera, Columba’s mum, and now I and my brothers and sisters will do the same for (siblings) Oliver, Eugene and Dympna.

“That’s part of the injustice and cruelty of the Disappeared – that nearly 50 years later it’s the next generation of family members who take on the search and who won’t give up until their loved ones are found.

“Until Columba is buried beside his mother and father in Donaghmore, and the others are returned to their families, we will never let this go.”

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