IOL: Gardaí end search for teenage IRA victim

22/09/2003 - 06:07:29

Gardaí have formally ended a two-week-long search of a mountainside bog near the Northern Ireland border for the remains of Columba McVeigh, who was kidnapped and murdered by the IRA as a teenager nearly 30 years ago.

The search operation, near Emyvale, Co Monaghan, began after the IRA relayed new information about the location of his body to the authorities.

Columba, 17, from Donaghmore, Co Tyrone, was one of Northern Ireland’s “disappeared” – people who vanished without trace after being abducted and killed by the now on-ceasefire IRA over a period dating back more three decades.

The latest search marked the third time gardaí had dug up the Emyvale bog in the search for the teenager’s body, but nothing has been found.

Columba was kidnapped in 1975 by the IRA, who claimed he had operated as a spy. The organisation finally admitted his murder four years ago.

The latest search for the murdered youth got under way 10 days after what are thought to be the remains of another of the disappeared, Belfast woman Jean McConville were found, reportedly by accident, on Shelling Hill beach in Co Louth.

Earlier searches of another beach in the same area for Mrs McConville had proved fruitless.

Mrs McConville, a mother of 10, was abducted from her Belfast home by an IRA gang in 1972. She was accused by the IRA of being an informer and of helping a British soldier who was fatally wounded during a gun battle with the IRA near Belfast’s Divis Flats complex.

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