Brother of one of last missing Disappeared pleads for information to find him

The brother of one of the last of those killed and secretly buried by republicans to remain missing has made a plea for information to find him.

Oliver McVeigh made the call as families of the 16 people disappeared during Northern Ireland’s troubled past gathered at Stormont for their annual silent walk.

Of the 16 Disappeared, the remains of 13 have been found while three remain missing.

Columba McVeigh search
From left to right, Columba McVeigh, Joe Lynskey and Robert Nairac are the final three of the Disappeared to remain missing (PA) 

The families of Co Tyrone teenager Columba McVeigh, former monk Joe Lynskey and Captain Robert Nairac are hopeful their bodies can be found.

Geoff Knupfer, who leads the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains (ICLVR), walked with the families during the 13th All Souls Day Silent Walk.

Families laid a black wreath with three white lilies representing those who have yet to be found on the steps.

Relatives of the Disappeared lay a wreath on the steps of Stormont (Rebecca Black/PA)

Mr McVeigh, from Donaghmore, Co Tyrone, was one of the first to be killed and secretly buried in 1975.

The latest search for his remains at Bragan Bog, Co Monaghan by the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains (ICLVR) ended earlier this year without success.

His brother Oliver told the PA news agency that his family are back to the drawing board and urged anyone with information to come forward.

“This is also the anniversary of my brother’s disappearance and death,” he said.

“We are one family, the Disappeared now, we have all toiled to find these other bodies and it’s nice to see people weighing in behind our family and the other two that are still missing, to say we are still behind you.

“The end of the search is heartbreaking, it’s one disappointment after another. At this stage it is back to the drawing board, going back to the republican movement and seeing.

“We can’t leave it at that, we have to keep going and they are going to have to come up with something new because he’s not where they said he was.”

The IRA is deemed responsible for most of the 16 murders and secret burials while the INLA was behind one of the disappearances.

Mr Lynskey went missing from his west Belfast home in May 1972. Searches have taken place for his remains in Co Meath, but ended without success.

Robert Nairac
Grenadier Guards Captain Robert Nairac talking to children in the Ardoyne area of Belfast in 1977 shortly before his disappearance later that year (PA)

Captain Nairac is believed to have been abducted from a bar in south Armagh in May 1977. Unsuccessful searches have taken place for his remains at Ravensdale Forest, Co Louth.

Father Joe Gormley from Creggan said Captain Nairac’s sister, who is based in London, is touched that her brother is remembered.

“I was in contact with Rosamund this morning, she is so touched and so thankful that people gather to remember Robert here on All Souls Day and also at the mass for the disappeared which we have in Armagh,” he said.

“There’s always hope that remains can be recovered, that’s why we gather here, there are only three left and in time we hope the number will be zero.”

Sandra Peake, the CEO of the WAVE Trauma Centre, urged anyone with information to find those who remain missing to come forward.

“We pray for the day that the last white lily is removed from the wreath,” she said.

“There are people out there who have the information that the ICLVR need to complete the task that was set for them.

“I hope and pray they will bring themselves to do what is right.”

Earlier this year Crimestoppers announced that an anonymous donor had put up a reward of £47,539 for information that results in the recovery of the remains of the three outstanding Disappeared victims.

Anyone with information should contact CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111 and the untraceable anonymous online form is at

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