There are 17 known cases of individuals who are suspected of having been murdered and secretly buried. Two of these are new cases which have been added to the official list of the I.C.L.V.R. in May 2009 and February 2010. They are Peter Wilson who disappeared in August 1973 and Joe Lynskey who disappeared in 1972.
The earliest disappearence reported is that of Seamus Mc Kee and Seamus Wright in October 1972. The latest of those not recovered is Seamus Ruddy in 1985. Cases span over 4 decades. Of the cases connected to republican activity, nine were named by the IRA in the spring of 1999 as having been murdered by members of their organisation and their bodies hidden across a number of areas in the South of Ireland.
The INLA claimed one death, that of Seamus Ruddy, buried in a forest near Rouen in France. The remaining are unclaimed, however the families contend that given the circumstances and response following the disappearances, members of republican armed groups were responsible and at the very least can shed light on the fate of their loved ones.
In May 1999 legislation was passed which facilitated information to be passed through an intermediary, this led to the identification of the six burial sites. Extensive digs were conducted and in only one of the sites where the remains of Brain McKinney and John McClory found. For the rest there was inevitable disappointment that there would be no closure and expectations were dashed.
There have been eleven other bodies found, Danny McIlhone found in November 2009, Charlie Armstrong found in July 2010, Gerard Evans found in October 2010, Peter Wilson found in November 2010, Brendan Megraw recovered in October 2014, Kevin Mc Kee and Seamus Wright recovered in June 2015.
Given the circumstances of many of the cases, the families have been left isolated and vulnerable. It is only in recent years that they have begun to meet together. These relationships have been fostered through a yearly remembrance mass which is held on Palm Sunday in St Patrick’s School, Armagh. The yearly service has brought immense comfort to those who continue to struggle with the pain and grief of loss in addition to the lack of knowledge of the final resting place of their loved one. In addition a series of meetings with political parties, US Envoys and other special events has also facilitated the families to build vital and rewarding connections with each other.
If you have any information about any of the disappeared, then you can contact the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims Remains below:
Britain and Ireland Phone
00800 – 55585500
Confidential Post Box
PO BOX 10827,