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Saturday 25 March 2017

IRA 'trying its utmost' in search for victims' remains

Fergus Black and Georgina O'Halloran

THE republican movement is "trying its utmost" to help in the search for the victims who "disappeared" during the Troubles, the commission set up to find their remains said yesterday.

It was commenting after an inquest was told how the skeletal remains of one IRA victim were found in the Wicklow mountains 27 years after his disappearance.

The partial remains of 21-year-old Daniel (Danny) McIlhone of Bernagh Drive, Lisbon Road, Andersonstown, Belfast, were found at Ballynultagh, Blessington, in the Wicklow Mountains, in November 2008 following an extensive search.

An inquest into his death at Dublin City Coroner's Court was told Mr McIlhone was shot dead during a struggle with an IRA volunteer who was guarding him at the time.

The young man was living in a flat at Pearse Tower, Ballymun, Dublin, when he was abducted from the area around May 12, 1981.

Yesterday, officials from the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains (ICLVR) said they continued to have ongoing contact with the republican movement, which was supporting the commission in its efforts to find the so called "disappeared".

"We are absolutely satisfied that the republican movement is trying its utmost to assist us but you've got to remember the timescales here -- 25 to 30 years that these events took place -- and the nature of the terrain," Geoffrey Knupfer, scientific consultant to the ICLVR, said.

Fourteen people disappeared during the Troubles and so far, five bodies, including that of Mr McIlhone, have been recovered. Further searches are currently taking place at locations in Monaghan and Meath.


Commission member Frank Murray said this latest discovery gave them the impetus to continue their work but he appealed to the public for any information that could help in locating the remainder of the disappeared.

Earlier, Mr Knupfer told the inquest that, acting on detailed information they received, the team searched a remote 22-acre site in Co Wicklow in November last year where Mr McIlhone's remains were found.

The jury returned a verdict of unlawful death by person or persons unknown.

Irish Independent

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