The family of Donaghmore teenager Columba McVeigh, have made an impassioned plea for information which could lead to the discovery of his remains 40 years after he was disappeared by the IRA.
Columba, the third of four children born to Paddy and Vera McVeigh, was abducted in Dublin on November 1, 1975.
Despite numerous public appeals by his relatives, Columba’s remains have never been found.
Now, on the 40th anniversary of his disappearance, Columba’s sister Dympna Kelly, said: “We loved Columba very much. Every year that passes is harder than the last and this anniversary is particularly painful.
“If Columba had lived we would have celebrated his 60th birthday last September. Not only was that denied us but we have nowhere to gather to mourn him. All we can do is to pray and plead. Pray that someday we’ll get him back and plead with anyone who has information to help bring an end to this nightmare. It’s terrible.”
Columba’s brother, Oliver, added: “We keep being told there is a new dispensation and that we all have to find a way to deal with the past. How can we even begin to do that? Is forty years not long enough to punish a family? Someone has the information that can end this inhumanity at absolutely no risk to themselves.”
The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains (ICLVR) has thrown its weight behind the renewed appeal for information.
Frank Murray, one of the Commissioners on the ICLVR, said: “The fact that we have yet to find Columba does not mean that this is a lost cause. Far from it. We are convinced that the information we have received to date has us in the right place.”
Sandra Peake of the WAVE Trauma Centre said: “Since this time last year the ICLVR has restored the remains of three of the Disappeared to their families. All of the families including the McVeighs rejoice at the news that loved ones have been returned to their families for a Christian burial. At the same time it makes their continuing plight all the more stark.”
Anyone with information should contact the ICLVR’s confidential telephone number on 00800-55585500 or write to them on ICLVR, PO BOX, 10827, Dublin 2.