Northern Ireland

Brendan Megraw: Priest says mother's Disappeared prayer answered

Mourners gathered behind a photograph of IRA murder victim Brendan Megraw at his funeral in west Belfast on Friday Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Mourners gathered behind a photograph of IRA murder victim Brendan Megraw at his funeral in west Belfast on Friday

The priest at the funeral of IRA murder victim Brendan Megraw has said his mother prayed for the day that he would be buried in the family grave, but never lived to see it.

Mr Megraw, one of those known as the Disappeared, was 23 when he was abducted from his home in the Twinbrook area of west Belfast in April, 1978.

His body was returned to his family earlier this week.

This was six weeks after it was found in a bog in County Meath.

At Mass in St Oliver Plunkett's Church in west Belfast, Fr Aidan Brankin told the congregation that Mr Megraw's mother Brigid had died in 2002, without getting to see her prayer answered.

"She prayed for this day, when Brendan was found and he could have a funeral and be buried in the family grave," he said.

"Unfortunately, she didn't get to see that prayer answered, but it is answered today. She wasn't just praying for Brendan. She prayed for all those who had been taken.

"She shared in the joy of other families of the Disappeared when their loved ones were found. She shared their disappointments when a search proved unsuccessful.

"They became like an extended family, supporting, encouraging and praying for each other - putting out appeals for fresh information, even having their own song."

Fr Brankin said that Mr Megraw's family and friends were still praying for those who are still missing, hoping "that they too will soon be found".

He said that Mr Megraw had loved "metalwork, woodwork and just being creative".

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The body of Mr Megraw was returned to his family last week after it was found in a bog in County Meath six weeks ago

Mr Megraw will be buried with his parents in Glenavy, County Antrim.

The Disappeared were people abducted, murdered and secretly buried by the IRA in the 1970s.

Six victims are still to be found.

Newly wed

Mr Megraw had recently been married and was expecting the birth of a daughter when he was taken away by the IRA and murdered.

He was found through the efforts of the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims Remains.

The commission, set up by the British and Irish governments in the wake of the Good Friday peace agreement, was tasked with investigating the cases of 16 people killed and secretly buried by republicans during the Troubles.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Mr Megraw had recently been married and was expecting the birth of his daughter when he was taken away by the IRA and murdered

Last week, the commission said it was mapping an area close to the same rural bog where Mr Megraw was found before beginning a search for another victim.

Specialist forensic investigators are scanning sections of land in the locality of the Oristown bog with radar in advance of a search for the remains of former west Belfast monk Joe Lynskey.

It is suspected two more of the disappeared - Kevin McKee and Seamus Wright - are buried in moorland only a few miles from the Oristown bog in an area near Wilkinstown, County Meath.

Related Topics

More on this story