Northern Ireland

The Disappeared: Brendan Megraw forensic examination begins

Brendan McGraw Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Brendan Megraw's wife was expecting their first baby when he was abducted from his Belfast home in 1978

Forensic examination has begun of land in County Meath for an IRA victim whose body has been missing for almost 40 years.

It is believed Brendan Megraw's remains are buried somewhere at a bog in Oristown, County Meath.

He was one of the 16 murder victims that became known as the Disappeared.

Mr Megraw was 23 years old when he was abducted from Twinbrook in Belfast in 1978, and murdered by the IRA.

The IRA claimed that he had confessed to being a British provocateur and Military Reaction Force undercover agent.

'Temper expectation'

Image copyright PA
Image caption Kieran Megraw said the family did not want to get their hopes up

There have been three unsuccessful searches for him, the most recent in 2010.

Last week, the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains (ICLVR) announced that a new search would get underway.

They said that a "geophysical survey" would be carried out on 2.5 hectares of land.

After the announcement, the brother of the victim, Kieran Megraw, said the family were wary of getting their hopes up.

"You're thankful that information has come in," he told BBC Radio Ulster's Good Morning Ulster.

"But you have to temper your expectation and hope. You're hoping then the results of the survey will say it's okay to go ahead."

Senior forensic investigator for the ICLVR, Geoff Knupfer, said no one, particularly the Megraw family, were "under any illusion" about the search.

"But, with the right information, we are confident we can find Brendan," he said.

It is thought the search involves a survey of the site by forensic archaeologists using radar to try to identify anomalies beneath the surface.

A decision will then be made on whether to start fresh excavations.

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