The search for the 'disappeared' victim of The Troubles is underway again after a lengthy delay.
A search for a teenager murdered by the IRA over 40 years ago has resumed after a lengthy postponement.
Columba McVeigh, 19, from the Tyrone town of Donaghmore, was last seen in November 1975 when he was murdered by members of the Provisional IRA.
Excavators have returned to a site at Bragan Bog near Emyvale in County Monaghan in the hope that they can locate the body.
Along with Joe Lynskey and Robert Nairac, he is one of three of the ‘disappeared’ victims of The Troubles whose body is yet to be recovered.
The search for McVeigh’s body began again in September of last year after republicans with knowledge of the crime told the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims Remains (ICLVR) in confidence that his body was buried in a Monaghan bog.
John Hall from the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains, is leading a search in Co. Monaghan to find the remains of Columba McVeigh - one of the “disappeared”. The 20-year-old is believed to have been murdered and secretly buried by the IRA in 1975. pic.twitter.com/fmwDZQ2xp6— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) June 4, 2019
The renewed search had been called off after just two months due to adverse weather conditions but has resumed this week.
The length of the delay was due to the time it took for the bog to dry out sufficiently to enable the use of heavy machinery, according to the senior investigator of the ICLVR Jon Hill. The investigator was keen to stress the magnitude of the task ahead but remained hopeful that the renewed search would lead to a discovery.
"We've managed to do some preparatory work in advance of today and so we're able to get down to the search proper straight away," he said.
"As I explained back in September, we are searching an area of about one acre in total which is smaller than some we have worked on in previous Disappeared searches, but this is challenging terrain.
"We are about halfway through the planned search area, but as before I'm not going to put a precise time frame on how long we'll be here.”
The search for one of the so-called Disappeared Columba McVeigh has resumed at Bragan Bog in Co Monaghan. The 19 year old was abducted, murdered and secretly buried by the IRA in 1975. pic.twitter.com/x94hXfbJ9E— Paul Reilly (@Paul_UTV) June 4, 2019
Last week, the charity CrimeStoppers announced that an anonymous donor had put up a $60,000 reward for information regarding the disappearances of Nairac, Lynskey and McVeigh. Lead investigator with the ICLVR said that the money will be divided equally between those who provide information on Lynskey and Nairac.
“The search for Columba was underway well before the CrimeStoppers reward was made available and it can only be claimed on the basis of new information that in the first instance goes to CrimeStoppers and that results in the recovery of the remains of the outstanding Disappeared cases,” he said.
“As Jon has said we want to find Columba as quickly as possible and as things stand that would be on the basis of existing information.
“If that proves to be the case and we find him then the 20,000 dollars allocated to Columba’s case will be divided equally between the other two raising the reward figure to 30,000 dollars each for the recovery of the remains of Joe Lynskey and Robert Nairac.”
McVeigh’s sister Dymphna said that she hopes that her family will get the result they are looking for in the search by locating her brother’s remains swiftly and laying him to rest with his parents.