herald

Saturday 19 August 2017

Clothes confirm body is one of 'the Disappeared'

Picture at the opening of an exhibition on The Disappeared in Drogheda were Sean and Kieran Megraw brothers of Brendan. Photo: Ciara Wilkinson.
Picture at the opening of an exhibition on The Disappeared in Drogheda were Sean and Kieran Megraw brothers of Brendan. Photo: Ciara Wilkinson.

After 36 years of waiting, a duffle coat and a pair of jeans have led to the discovery of IRA murder victim Brendan Megraw.

The remains of a man, believed to be those of Mr Megraw, were discovered at Oristown bog in Kells, Co Meath, yesterday.

The victim's brother, Sean, told the Herald that he was quizzed by gardai about Brendan's clothes.

"They asked what Brendan was wearing when he was last seen and I said a duffle coat and a pair of jeans and they are some of the materials they've found," he said.

abducted

The body is "fairly complete", said his brother.

"There are three more bodies buried around here. There are two in another bog called Wilkinstown, which is about five or six miles away and a third one somewhere inbetween," he said.

Mr Megraw was one of the 17 so-called 'Disappeared' - people who were abducted and murdered by the IRA and the INLA during the Troubles, and whose bodies were buried in secret.

Ten of those bodies have already been found.

His brother now believes that yesterday's find will lead to the discovery of another three of the remaining six Disappeared.

"I hope that this find will make people come forward with information about the other three bodies that are buried around here," Sean said.

Mr Megraw was abducted on April 8, 1978, aged 23, and his new wife was three months' pregnant with the couple's first child.

"Brendan would be 60 next year if he was still alive, he has grandchildren now too," Sean said.

"It was very tough on my mother. She went down to Limerick looking for him because he had worked there for a time.

"There were rumours that he was in Canada but we have so many relatives there, someone would have run into him," his brother said.

His family had no idea where Mr Megraw was.

"Up until 1999 we were hopeful he was alive - even when we got the statement there was a small amount of hope that he could still be alive," Sean said.

In 1999, following the Good Friday Agreement, his family received information from the IRA saying that they had taken him.

The IRA said he had been working for the British security forces but never admitted to killing him.

The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains (ICLVR) was then set up to find the Disappeared. Yesterday it confirmed that a body had been found.

On hearing the news, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said: "I hope the discovery of the body will bring some closure to the family."

Mr Megraw's mother had visited the desolate bog, where her son was eventually found, approximately four times, explained Sean. And in total the family had visited the Kells site around 60 times.

fruitless

"I think it was in 2001 when they'd finished a fruitless search and my mother was there. It was a very grim day.

"She is dead 10 years now and she had 20 years of uncertainty wondering where he was and trying to find things out," Sean stated.

"There is sadness but this is happy news. We are glad he was found," he added.

Mr Megraw's siblings all gathered at the bog last night and his remains will be removed for a full post-mortem today.

"It will be about five or six weeks until he is formally identified. And we will have a funeral then," said his brother.

jfegan@herald.ie

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