Human remains found in County Meath in October were those of IRA murder victim Brendan Megraw, it has been confirmed.
Mr Megraw was one of the 16 murder victims who became known as the Disappeared.
His remains were found in a drainage ditch on Oristown bog, near Kells, by contractors called in to prepare the site for forensic excavations.
DNA tests have positively identified the remains as those of Mr Megraw.
The coroner for the city of Dublin has accepted this as evidence of identification and will shortly authorise the release of the remains to the family.
In a statement, Brendan Megraw's brother, Kieran, said the family are relieved that he has been found.
"He has been alone for nearly 40 years and now we can bring him home and lay him to rest with our mum and dad," he said.
"We want to thank all those who have supported us over the years."
He added: "Brendan was found because more information came in to refine the search area and we are hugely grateful for whoever provided it.
"We hope and pray that the suffering of those still waiting for the return of their loved ones will soon be brought to an end".
Mr Megraw was 23 when he was abducted from Twinbrook in Belfast in 1978, and murdered by the IRA.
He had recently been married and was awaiting the birth of his daughter.
His kidnappers had drugged his wife, Marie, in their home as they waited for his return, and as they took him away they warned her not to worry or contact police.
The Megraw family were only told by the IRA in 1999 that he was one of the Disappeared and his body had been dumped on the bogland near the town of Kells in County Meath.
Three previous searches for Mr Megraw, the most recent in 2010, were unsuccessful.
The Disappeared were abducted, murdered and secretly buried by republican paramilitaries during the Troubles.
Separate searches have also taken place on bogland a few miles away from where Mr Megraw was buried in County Meath for the remains of Kevin McKee and Seamus Wright, both of whom were abducted by the IRA in October 1972.
It is also suspected Joseph Lynskey, a former Cistercian monk taken from the Beechmount area of west Belfast in the summer of 1972, was also buried somewhere in the region.