More on human rights violations..

The Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams pre-empted this announcement somewhat when, after the PIRA statement rejecting the Police Ombudsman’s assessment on Jean McConville, he held a press conference to reveal that there had been meetings over the past 10 months between PIRA members, “primary sources” in the abductions and murders, and the forensic expert appointed by the British government. Today Secretary of State Peter Hain announced the government’s response to the recommendations by the forensic expert. – further reports here, and hereDespite Gerry Adams description of those involved in the meetings as “primary sources” – ie “people who were there when the killings took place – either transporting those who were killed, or in fact killed those who were killed or buried those who were killed.” it’s worth noting the description of those meetings by the government

In the course of this work the forensic expert met with IRA interlocutors in the hope of pinpointing the resting places of those victims who were not found when the Commission carried out its original excavations in 1999-2003.

Whoever those interlocutors were, the government are playing down the expectations of successful recovery of the bodies of those murdered.

The Secretary of State Peter Hain MP said: “Both the British and Irish Governments are committed to doing what they can to find the bodies of the Disappeared and bring some closure to the families.

“At the core of this tragedy we have a number of families grieving for the return of the remains of their loved ones and it is important that they are kept fully informed of the work of the Commission”.

The Secretary of State stressed that it is important not to raise unrealistic expectations, particularly in the light of a number of unsuccessful excavations in previous years.

From the NIO statement

The Commission delivered a report, based on the expert’s review, to the two Governments earlier this year. The Governments, following consideration of the report, have accepted its recommendations and have agreed to a series of key measures that will now be taken. These are:

– The retention of the forensic expert and the establishment of a project team to work as part of the Commission to take forward the report’s recommendations.

– The setting up of a PO Box and confidential telephone line which will allow people with information on the whereabouts of victims to share it with the ICLVR. These will be publicised through an advertising campaign.

– The carrying out of non-invasive surveys on all suspected gravesites, including examinations of all relevant contemporary mapping, forestry records and aerial photography of sites for comparison with current imagery and mapping by imagery analysts.

– The use of other experts/resources where beneficial, including existing ‘body disposal’ databases.

– The collection of DNA samples from the closest biological relatives of all those victims whose bodies are yet to be recovered. Any surviving medical and dental records will also be secured.

– The establishment of a family liaison officer and media contact point within the Commission.

In line with the report’s recommendations, physical excavation of gravesites will now only be undertaken if and where the Commission assesses there to be a good prospect of successful recovery of remains.[added emphasis]

Also from the NIO statement..

The full list of victims whom the IRA admitted to having killed and buried in unknown locations comprises:

Seamus Wright
Kevin McKee
Jean McConville
Columba McVeigh
Brendan Megraw
John McClory
Brian McKinney
Danny McIlhone
Eamon Molloy

On the morning that the ICLVR was set up, in May 1999, the remains of Eamon Molloy were left in a coffin in a graveyard in Faughart, County Louth.

The remains of Brian McKinney and John McClory were recovered in a site in Co. Monaghan. These were the only remains to be found directly as a result of excavations undertaken on the foot of information provided by IRA.

The remains of Jean McConville were discovered by members of the public on Shelling Hill beach in Co. Louth in 2003. IRA information had on a number of occasions previously indicated nearby Templeton beach as their location.

Over 85,000 square metres of land was excavated by An Garda Síochána in the course of this process.

Other cases examined by the expert include those of Charles Armstrong and Gerard Evans, who disappeared from Co. Armagh but for whom no-one has claimed responsibility; Robert Nairac who also disappeared from Co. Armagh, and Seamus Ruddy, who disappeared in France. Responsibility for Seamus Ruddy’s disappearance has been attributed to the INLA.

Given that these steps are to be set up within the remit of the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains it’s probably a safe bet to say that the conditions on the use of any forensics retrieved in any subsequent charges, should they ever materialise, will remain in place.

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  • Ian

    Three of the Disappeared that the IRA haven’t claimed responsibility for either hailed from, or disappeared from Co Armagh.

    Could it be that those responsible were in PIRA at the time but were among those who defected to the RIRA in 1997 (a large number of whom were from one of the Co Armagh Brigades)? Thus when PIRA say they weren’t responsible for their ‘disappearance’, this could reflect the fact that none of their current personnel were involved, as determined in 1999 when internal inquiries were conducted following the establishment of the Disappeared Commission.

    However, at that time they might not have been on speaking terms with some of their former members, who had defected to the RIRA in 1997, who might have carried out the ‘disappearances’ in the name of PIRA at the time, but who might not have cooperated in the search for victims remains.

    Are RIRA co-operating with the Disappeared Commission? Have the 32CSM been approached about this matter? Could this be the key to the recovery of some of the ‘unclaimed’ disappeared?

  • Ian

    Maybe I should clarify the start of that second paragraph:

    Could it be that those responsible were in PIRA at the time of the disappearances but were among those who subsequently defected to the RIRA…

  • Garibaldy

    Was Gareth O’Connor’s body ever found?

  • darth rumsfeld

    Found in his car in Newry Canal

    BTW, reluctant admiration to the Shinner wordsmith who came up with the phrase “primary source”. Coming soon to a journo near you
    “I was primary source in Finucane killing says Ken Barrett” etc etc

  • AQTS

    “primary source” is a well know term in historical research – Pete there as used it slightly out of context.

  • Pete Baker


    “Pete there as used it slightly out of context.”

    Pete there has used it directly quoting Mr Adams.

  • Garibaldy


    Thanks. I remembered the car, but not the body being found.

  • Human Rights Forum

    Balmoral Hotel
    Blacks Road

    Thursday, 10th August, 2006
    2:30pm – 4:00pm

    “The Collusion of MI5, FBI & Gardai in the Framing of Michael McKevitt”

    A panel of human rights activists and lawyers will highlight the deliberate framing of Michael McKevitt by MI5, FBI and senior members of the Gardai. Serious questions about the activities of MI5 in Ireland, Senior Garda collusion and a judiciary swayed by political rather than legal argument will be addressed at this forum.

    •Chairperson – Ms. Noelle Ryan
    •Monsignor Raymond Murray
    •Father Desmond Wilson,
    •Father Joe Mc Veigh,
    •Mark Thompson (Relatives For Justice)
    •Claire Reilly (Relatives For Justice)
    •Kevin Winters Human Rights Lawyer

    In addition, members of the Sands and McKevitt families will be present. A booklet compiled by Michael’s sister-in-law Marcella Sands will be available after the forum.

  • Intelligence Insider

    Any chance of a Human Rights Forum to look into the crimes McKevitt and co. carried out both as a member of PIRA & of RIRA?

    Any decent person would like to see this occur, unless of course they believed McKevitt is, or ever was, a member of the government???????

  • seenit

    First Ballysillan Leisure, then Casement Park-who’s first in the queue to put the boot into the Balmoral Hotel?

  • harpo

    ‘•Monsignor Raymond Murray
    •Father Desmond Wilson,
    •Father Joe Mc Veigh’


    Ignoring your whataboutery for a moment, that’s an awful lot of clergymen who are concrened about the supposed human rights of a convicted terrorist.

    Is this evidence of these clergy supporting terrorism?

    It seems odd that they would be so upset about the rights of a terrorist, when there are so many other worthwhile issues to be concerned about.

    Issues like this one here – IR terrorists disappearing people.

  • harpo

    ‘The Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams pre-empted this announcement somewhat’

    Well of course he did. He wanted to paint a picture of decent PIRA people who were doing their very best to help these families find the remains of their loved ones.

    We can now see the results from this report. Nothing was achieved.

    Pardon me stating the obvious, but if these primary sources – kidnappers, killers and drivers etc – actually did meet with the authorities, is it too much for them to have simply stated where they buried the bodies?

    We heard lots of big words from Gerry, but in the end, this supposed effort by the PIRA has produced nothing. And that’s what counts.

    Why don’t these primary sources know where they buried bodies? Were they drunk or under the influence of drugs when they carried out the killings?

  • harpo

    ‘Thus when PIRA say they weren’t responsible for their ‘disappearance’, this could reflect the fact that none of their current personnel were involved’


    Did the PIRA say they weren’t responsible for certain disappearances? I don’t recall that.

    Even if they did, it doesn’t wash. The perps were acting under the Provo umbrella at the time, so it is the responsibility of the Provos.

    IBM can’t claim that some action by one of their employees isn’t their responsibility any longer just because that employee is no longer with the company.

    ‘Are RIRA co-operating with the Disappeared Commission? Have the 32CSM been approached about this matter?’

    Who knows. The Provos haven’t said anything about this. Gerry Adams said that primary sources had been meeting with the authorities to try to resolve these issues, so presumably that means thos primary sources are still aligned to the Provos.

    I can’t honestly see the Provos being interested in going to people who left recently or even long ago to say ‘here – we’re in bother about these people that we disappreared. Would you be interested in helping us out by telling us where you buried that body?’.