22 March 2006

Mum gives up hope in hunt for Disappeared Columba

Belfast Telegraph

I'll never find my son's remains

22 March 2006

The mother of a Co Tyrone Disappeared victim today said she had given up hope of ever finding her son's remains.

Vera McVeigh's shattering admission came after it emerged that a report by a forensics expert may order fresh excavations searching for those abducted and murdered by the IRA during the Troubles.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usHer son Columba (17) was kidnapped in 1975 and is reputed to be buried in Braggan, Co Monaghan - one of five who are still missing.

The commission tasked with finding the bodies, which was appointed by the British and Irish governments, has received a report from a forensics expert who was recruited last year in a bid to bring closure to the families.

"I have no hope of ever getting Columba's remains, that's the way I feel. I have been through this for 30 years and what way would any mother feel going through that?" Mrs McVeigh asked.

"I never had any hopes of getting him back. Anybody with any common sense could not have any hope.

"I was given a map of where he was buried a long, long time ago and I gave it in to the Garda and I have heard nothing back about that, nothing, so I have no hope."

Specialist teams searched the barren moor where Columba is reputed to be buried in 1999, 2000 and 2003 without success.

A source at the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains said: "The important thing to remember is that the Commission is essentially a letter-box which gathers information through intermediaries and takes appropriate action.

"There's a possibility that they could (begin excavations), it is also possible that you may get further information from different sources."

The first body to be discovered was that of north Belfast republican Eamon Molloy, an alleged IRA informer who vanished in 1975. His remains were found in May 1999 in a Co Louth cemetery.

Five weeks later the bodies of west Belfast men John McClory and Brian McKinney, abducted in 1978, were found in bogland in Co Monaghan.

In 2003 west Belfast mother Jean McConville's remains were found on Templeton beach in Co Louth.

Those who are still missing include west Belfast men Seamus Wright, Kevin McKee, Brendan Megraw and Danny McIlhone.

Charlie Armstrong, from Crossmaglen in Co Armagh, is also an alleged victim of the IRA who has never been found.

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