The Disappeared: Kevin McKee's sister speaks of emotion at visiting murder site

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Philomena McKee (second left) and family members at the scene in County Meath
Image caption,
Philomena McKee (second left) and family members at the scene in County Meath

Philomena McKee, the sister of one of the Disappeared, has told of her pain after visiting the spot where her brother was murdered 43 years ago.

The body of Kevin McKee is believed to be one of two found in a single grave in the Republic of Ireland on Thursday.

"It was very, very emotional seeing the spot where he was murdered," she said. "Everything just runs through your head.

"I always believed we would find him again. I never gave up hope."

Media caption,

It was a moment the families had both prayed for and dreaded

The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains (ICLVR) initially thought the remains found at a bog in County Meath on Thursday were those of Joe Lynskey.

He was abducted, murdered and secretly buried by the IRA in 1972.

There was "surprise", an investigator said, when another body was found.

Image caption,
Kevin McKee was abducted and murdered by the IRA in 1972

The term the Disappeared refers to victims who were murdered and secretly buried by republicans during the Northern Ireland Troubles.

IRA member Kevin McKee was abducted and murdered by the organisation in 1972. Philomena was nine years old at the time, but she still remembers her brother vividly.

"His curly hair... his big blue eyes and him being very protective of us younger ones, his younger sisters, is what I remember most about him," she said.

"Today means a lot to us as a family. We still have to wait until the DNA tests come back, but we have high hopes that it is Kevin.

"It's a mixture of feelings, to be honest - happiness, sadness. Just thinking back on what the family has been through, it's unexplainable.

"My mother, who has passed away, went through torture throughout the years.

"She was tortured all her life thinking that her son might come home some day.

"She is going to be reunited with him now, but the sad thing is that they will be reunited in the grave and she never lived to see this day."

Ms McKee said that to have Kevin back and be able to give him a Christian burial meant "everything" to her.

"I feel like I have wings on my shoulders. A weight has been lifted off," she said.

"The day we get the phone call to certify that it is Kevin we can move on.

"We will be able to go and visit the grave that he and our mother are in. We will be able to grieve properly at last."