Statement by Archbishop Eamon Martin on the search for Columba McVeigh

23 Sep 2019

I am saddened and disappointed to learn this morning that the current search for the body of Columba McVeigh has been unsuccessful.  Last November I met and prayed with Columba’s family and the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains forensic team at the search site in Bragan, Co Monaghan.

The sense of dejection felt by Columba’s family and the ICLVR team is heart-rending.

His family has suffered too much pain, distress and anxiety over all these years.  Columba’s mother had dearly wished that he would be found so that he could be buried in the family grave.   She has now gone to her rest without finding the remains of her beloved son.  Other family members are getting older.  They promised their mother they would never give up looking for Columba.  Their dedicated and lonely vigil for Columba is agonising.  

I once more appeal to the conscience of anyone who has information that might help find Columba, Joe Lynskey or Robert Nairac, to come forward to the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains, so that the remaining families can experience the consolation of being able to offer their loved ones a Christian burial.  

The slightest clues could lead to them.  Please help end their heartache.

I appeal also to those carrying long-held secrets, from what were awful, terrible times, to share what information they have – they may hold the key to unlocking the uncertainty and grief of those families who are still desperately waiting and hoping.  

I ask everyone to keep the families of the disappeared in their prayers during these difficult days.

Anyone with information about the Disappeared should contact the ICLVR on 00800 555 85500, or in writing to ICLVR, PO Box 10827, Dublin 2, or via


  • Archbishop Eamon Martin is Archbishop of Armagh, Apostolic Administrator of Dromore and Primate of All Ireland.

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