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Monday 22 January 2018

'My family never recovered': Brother of disappeared victim calls for information on body

Louise Hogan in Antrim

A brother of one of the group of people known as 'disappeared' has called on those with information on where bodies are buried to come forward.

Oliver McVeigh told how his family never recovered from the disappearance of his brother Columba McVeigh at the age of 19 in 1975.

Columba McVeigh, from Donaghmore, Co Tyrone was taken, murdered and buried in a location that has never been revealed by the IRA.

Searches were carried out for his remains in Co Monaghan yet his body has never been found.

Speaking outside Antrim police station, where Mr Adams was being questioned in connection with the disappearance of mother-of-10 Jean McConville, Mr McVeigh said the families still needed people to come forward to help them locate the final remains.

"He is one of the seven bodies that still haven't been found - this is a big Southern thing, everybody thinks the disappeared is a northern issue, it is not really it is a Southern issue, virtually all of them are buried in the south," said Mr McVeigh who was just 13 when his brother was abducted.

Mr McVeigh worries the arrest of Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams by detectives investigating the abduction and murder of mother-of-10 Jean McConville may "deflect" attention from the other 'disappeared'.

Columba McVeigh

"I wouldn't like this to have any impact on people coming forward and giving the information that we need," he said, adding the families wanted the bodies to give them a "Christian burial".

"Somebody knows something somewhere, I think it is way down the list priorities as far as the governments are concerned and as far as the Sinn Fein people are concerned and the IRA - to shoot someone and interrogate them is bad enough but to bury them like a dog and not tell their families about it, it is crazy stuff."

Mr McVeigh feels his brother's disappearance "killed" his mother Vera after she discovered in 1999 he was one of those taken by the IRA. "It played on her mind," he said of his mother Vera who died seven years ago.

"I'm still keeping the fight going," he said.

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