The Disappeared: Search for remains winds down for winter

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Image caption,
Prayers were said at the search site in Bragan Bog, County Monaghan

The search for the remains of Columba McVeigh in a County Monaghan bog is being wound down for the winter.

He was one of 16 murder victims known as the Disappeared, who were killed and secretly buried by the IRA.

Relatives of the Disappeared travelled to the site where the search will resume in the spring.

The remains of three people, including Mr McVeigh's, are still being sought by by the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains.

On Friday, relatives of the victims gathered at Stormont for their annual silent walk.

They laid a wreath at the steps of Parliament Buildings before travelling to the search site.

Image caption,
Archbishop Eamon Martin said hope continued that Columba McVeigh's remains would be found

Speaking at the search site, the Catholic Primate, Archbishop Eamon Martin, said the hope continued that Mr McVeigh's remains would be found, and he praised the work of those carrying out the search.

"In many ways we're shocked to come away up here into such a bleak place, such a lonely place and realise that this gruesome task continues."

Dympna Kerr, the sister of Columba McVeigh, appealed to anyone with information about his whereabouts to come forward.

Image source, Pacemaker
Image caption,
Columba McVeigh was kidnapped, murdered and buried in secret by the IRA

"All we want to do is bring him home and put him in a grave beside my mum and dad," she said.

Image caption,
Oliver McVeigh said his resolve had grown stronger

Mr McVeigh's brother Oliver said he remained determined to locate his brother's body:

"My resolve has got stronger even though it shouldn't be because this is the fifth dig."

The search for Mr McVeigh is now focussed on a section of Bragan Bog near Emyvale, County Monaghan.

Four previous searches for his remains were carried out in the area, with the last ending in September 2013.