Statement by the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains at Carrickroe Church, Emyvale, Co. Monaghan.

21 January 2015

"I am Frank Murray. I was nominated in 2006 by the Irish Government as one of two independent Commissioners of the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains – the other is Sir Ken Bloomfield nominated by the British Government.

The Commission was established by the two Governments in April 1999. It arose from the Good Friday Agreement and the strong desire to ensure that the suffering of the victims of the troubles was acknowledged and that their concerns were addressed.

The Commission is responsible for locating of the remains of 'the Disappeared' – these are the group of people who were murdered and secretly buried by paramilitaries. The Commission has a total of 16 people on its list of the Disappeared and although ten of them have been located, six people have yet to recovered.

The Commission’s only and overriding priority is to return the remains of these victims to their families so that they can receive a decent, Christian burial and so that their families may have a graveside at which to pray and to remember the loved one they lost in such tragic circumstances. I want to emphasise that we have no other goal than to locate the victims – we operate in complete confidence, guaranteed by law, and entirely separate from the criminal justice system. Our work is humanitarian and the victims’ families are at the centre of what we do.

Columba McVeigh is one of those victims whose remains have yet to be recovered. As many of you will know, Columba was killed in 1975 and, as far as we know, was buried at Bragan Bog not so far from here. The Commission has carried out a number of searches and extensive excavations over the years at and around the location at Bragan where we believe he is buried. Our most recent excavations there finished in September 2013 and sadly without having found Columba’s remains.

Information is crucial to the Commission’s investigation team and I want to issue an appeal this evening to all of you and ask you to pass it on – if anybody has any information that may help to locate Columba’s remains please make it available to the Commission. It will be treated absolutely confidentially.

If we can get new information we will go back to Bragan.

Forget about politics and forget about history. My appeal is about our common human decency. The McVeigh family has suffered enough and somebody has information that can help to end that suffering. Out of common human decency bring us that information and we will act on it."