N. Ireland 'disappeared' laid to rest after 36 years

14th November 2014, Comments 0 comments

The body of a man killed by IRA militants was laid to rest after 36 years on Friday following the recovery of his remains from a bog in Ireland.

Brendan Megraw, 23, was abducted from his home in Belfast and killed by paramilitaries in April 1978.

He was one of the victims known as "the Disappeared" who vanished without trace during the three decades-long conflict in Northern Ireland.

Six are still missing.

"It's just tremendous to feel we now have him back home, said Megraw's brother Kieran on Thursday night, as he lit candles around the coffin in preparation for his funeral.

"We always dreamed about it, thought about it, hoped and prayed for it.

"Investigators following a new lead discovered Megraw's remains in a remote bog in October, following a series of unsuccessful searches over the years.

Megraw had recently married and was expecting the birth of his daughter when he was murdered.

His family were not told by the IRA (the Irish Republican Army) until 1999 that he had been killed and secretly buried.

The IRA, which waged a bloody battle over decades against British rule in Northern Ireland, claimed that he had confessed to being a British "agent provocateur".

"Brendan is finally getting the dignity of a funeral mass today and we pray for the happy repose of his soul," Father Aidan Brankin said at the service on Saturday.

"Even today Brendan's family and friends are praying for those still missing that they too will soon be found," he said.

The recovery was carried out by the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains.

Preliminary searches have begun in the same area near the village of Oristown for another victim, Joe Lynskey, a monk who went missing in 1972.

Two more "disappeared" are believed to be buried in moorland also in that area, British media reported.

The most high-profile IRA victim was widowed Belfast mother-of-ten Jean McConville, whose remains were found on a beach in Ireland in 2003.

The investigation into her murder, one of the most notorious of the conflict, led to a number of arrests this year, including of republican leader Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein.

Some 3,000 people were killed in the three decades of sectarian bombings and shootings in Northern Ireland known as "The Troubles" before an historic peace agreement in 1998.

© 2014 AFP

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