Northern Ireland

The Disappeared: Joe Lynskey' niece to visit search site

Joe Lynskey was a former Cistercian monk from west Belfast who later joined the IRA and disappeared in 1972 Image copyright WAVE Trauma
Image caption Joe Lynskey was a former Cistercian monk from west Belfast who later joined the IRA and disappeared in 1972

The niece of a man who was murdered and secretly buried by the IRA has appealed for help to find his body ahead of her visit to the search site.

Joe Lynskey, a former monk who later joined the IRA, was abducted in Belfast in 1972 and became one of the Disappeared.

The term refers to 16 murder victims who were secretly buried by republican paramilitaries during the Troubles.

His niece, Maria Lynskey, will visit Coghalstown, County Meath, on Thursday.

A search has been ongoing there since March in a bid to recover his remains.

'Christian burial'

The specialist operation is being carried out by the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains (ICLVR).

Speaking ahead of her visit to the site, Ms Lynskey said: "This is a very difficult journey to make. Even though Joe was the first of the Disappeared the family didn't know that until 2010.

"The thought that he has been left here for over 40 years is almost unbearable. Now we need to bring him home to give him the Christian burial that he was denied all those years ago".

Mr Lynskey was a former Cistercian monk from the Beechmount area of west Belfast who later joined the IRA.

He was abducted close to his home in August 1972.

'Years of pain'

When the Coghalstown search began in March, forensic investigators said they had narrowed the search to about 15 acres of bog land.

Image caption The search is being carried out at Coghalstown, County Meath

Ahead of Ms Lynskey's visit, ICLVR senior investigator Jon Hill, told BBC Radio Ulster's Good Morning Ulster the operation was "on target", but described it as "challenging".

"The terrain is not as rough as at Oristown where we found Brendan Megraw last October but because it is now farm land reclaimed from the bog we have to reinstate it as we go along," he said.

"It is only maybe 100 yards from where we have conducted other searches in relation to Seamus Wright and Kevin McKee who we haven't as yet found and it is just unfortunate that we don't have that right piece of information that can take us to exactly where they are, which is why we are always appealing to people - particularly people in that locality.

"We are very conscious and aware there is information in that area that could come to us and assist with this investigation, that has not, as yet, come forward."

Ms Lynskey added: "I am convinced that there is more information that could be brought forward not only in Joe's case, but also about Seamus Wright and Kevin McKee who could be close by.

"The only reason we want anyone with information to come forward is to find the remains of our loved ones. One piece of information could ease years of pain."

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