Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Mr. Alan Shatter TD, and the Northern Ireland Office Minister, Rt. Hon. Hugo Swire MP, met today with the family members of the "Disappeared" victims of paramilitary murders and with the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains (ICLVR).
The Ministers jointly expressed their sympathy to the families on their loss and their hope that the remains of those victims who have not yet been recovered can be returned to their loved ones.
The Ministers took the opportunity to thank the Commissioners and the Commission’s staff for their work to date in recovering the remains of a number of paramilitary victims who had been buried in secret locations. This has helped to bring closure for their families. The two Commissioners, Frank Murray and Sir Ken Bloomfield, confirmed to the two Governments that the current work programme of investigations to follow up on information received was almost completed and that further work is planned for next year.
Minister Shatter said: "The Commission has been successful in recovering the remains of eight of the victims and, thankfully, this has brought some comfort to their families. The Commission, with the support of the two Governments, has worked tirelessly for the families in recent years and we hope, for their sake, that it will be able to make further progress."
Minister Swire said: "We recognise the continuing hurt and disappointment felt by those families whose loved ones have yet to be recovered to them. The work of the Commission is a very important example of successful cross–Border co-operation and it plans to carry out further work next year."
The two Ministers also repeated the Commission’s standing call for further information from the public to help it to locate the remains of the Disappeared who have not yet been recovered. All information provided to the Commission is treated in confidence and has a guarantee of privilege.
Minister Shatter said: "The Commission’s investigations are complicated and difficult, and information from the public is absolutely crucial to its work. Anyone with information about any of the cases of the Disappeared should contact the Commission’s confidential telephone number or its PO Box address."
Minister Swire said: "The relatives of the Disappeared have suffered their loss for decades but have not given up hope for the return of their family members for a decent burial. I call on anyone with any information that could help to provide it to the Commission without delay. Any information given is strictly confidential and cannot by law be used for any other purpose."
25 November 2011
Notes for Editors
The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains was established by an intergovernmental agreement between the British and Irish Governments, signed on 27 April 1999, and by legislation enacted in the two jurisdictions. The Department of Justice and Equality, in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Office, provides financial support for the Commission.
The Commission is responsible for facilitating the location of the remains of victims of paramilitary violence who were murdered and secretly buried arising from the conflict in Northern Ireland.
The Commission has in place a confidential free-phone number and post office box address through which information can be passed to it. Any such information will be treated in the strictest confidence and will not be used for any purpose other than locating the remains of victims.
Confidential free-phone number: +800-55585500
PO Box 10827
Further information about the Commission and its activities and about the Disappeared is available at www.iclvr.ie.
There are 16 persons on the Commission’s list of the Disappeared, nine of whom have been recovered to date.
· Joe Lynskey
· Seamus Wright
· Kevin McKee
· Jean McConville (Recovered 2003)
· Peter Wilson (Recovered 2010)
· Eamon Molloy (Recovered 1999)
· Columba McVeigh
· Capt. Robert Nairac
· Brendan Megraw
· John McClory (Recovered 1999)
· Brian McKinney (Recovered 1999)
· Gerald Evans (Recovered 2010)
· Eugene Simons* (Recovered 1984)
· Charlie Armstrong (Recovered 2010)
· Danny McIlhone (Recovered 2008)
· Seamus Ruddy
*Eugene Simons was recovered before the establishment of the ICLVR.