Search recommences

The search for bodies of the nine remaining ‘Disappeared’ has recommenced. Geoff Knupfer is leading the operation, he led the partially successful Moors murder searches.NINE REMAINING DISAPPEARED
Seamus Wright, 25, from west Belfast, abducted in 1972
Kevin McKee, 25, abducted with Seamus Wright
Columba McVeigh, 17, from Donaghmore, Co Tyrone, abducted in 1975
Robert Nairac, 29, British soldier abducted in south Armagh, 1977
Brendan Megraw, 22, abducted from west Belfast in 1978
Gerard Evans, 24, went missing from Crossmaglen in 1979
Charlie Armstrong, 57, went missing from Crossmaglen in 1981
Danny McIlhone abducted from west Belfast in 1981
Seamus Ruddy, 35, disappeared in Paris in 1985

  • Token Dissent

    As any more information been forth-coming from the Provos, or is this is a case of a renewed effort based on previously held knowledge?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    New information was paased on over these killimgs and the locations last year. The Free Staters decided (as predicted on this site by myself and others) that the renewed digs would not take place until just before the 26 county elections.

  • Token Dissent

    Firstly sorry for the typo on first post – should have been “Has” not “As”.

    Pat, the timing of the dig in relation to the elections hadn’t occurred to me, but if you are right about new information being available last year the delay is rather hard to explain, other than being for political purposes. But equally renewed digging before the Stormont elections wouldn’t have been welcomed by Sinn Fein.

  • Pat,
    With the walls of the maze coming down also today, its clear there’s an improved drive all round to clear-out all the old cobwebs and skeletons prior to May 8th.
    United Irelander runs a McCabe story today, that could well be just as politically motivated.
    Any thoughts?

  • Pat Mc Larnon


    I read the originial piece yesterday by Sheehan. Outside of the usually un-named ‘sources’ there is nothing that adds any credibility at all to the story.

    The Sindo clealry has an agenda regarding SF, anyone who fails to see that it has is clearly mentally incompetent. On another thread it has been pointed out how the Sindo’s sister paper got the names of ministerial positions wrong, a story also based on ‘sources’.

    As the IRA has pulled the carpet from under their feet as regards coneasonput the boot into republicans, increasingly, papers like the Sindo will have to revisit ases like that of McCabe. It is a cynical electoral ploy and has nothing at all to do with the feelings of the Mc Cabe family.

    As it is the prisoners themselves cleared up this scenario with their own message quite some time age. Outside of independent verification about the Sheehan story I consider it to be a lie.

  • ingram

    quote I consider it to be a lie. LOL

    Nice to see Patsy still on duty.

    Ding Ding


  • Token Dissent

    These are actual real “skeletons” lest we forget. Also, what evidence is there that the McCabe family want their tragedy to to ignored? Mrs McCabe was in Washington on Saint Paddy’s day.

    Issues like these can’t AND SHOULDN’T be treated as wee inconvinent side-issues lads. The Provisional movement has shown no desire to address or “clear-out all the old cobwebs and skeletons” of their horrendous past. Undo they do I hope that they are reminded and haunted by it daily.

  • when its nothing to do with the feelings of the McCabe family its a cynical ploy, fooling only its readers.

  • Sean

    Hey ding aling where the evidence against O’loan you promissed us?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘These are actual real “skeletons” lest we forget.’

    Nobody is suggesting they are not.

    ‘Also, what evidence is there that the McCabe family want their tragedy to to ignored? Mrs McCabe was in Washington on Saint Paddy’s day.’

    Who is suggesting the Mc Cabe family wants the issue ignored?


    you’ll probably get the evidence on O’loan at the same time he produces the promised goods on our Deputy First Minister. The guy is a 20 year old story, even if you believe him at all.

    ‘Issues like these can’t AND SHOULDN’T be treated as wee inconvinent side-issues lads. The Provisional movement has shown no desire to address or “clear-out all the old cobwebs and skeletons” of their horrendous past. Undo they do I hope that they are reminded and haunted by it daily.’

    Again who is suggesting the issue is a side issue? To suggest the IRA has not shown a desire to bring an end to this issue is patently false.

    Let’s be clear the IRA killed these informers and agents, thus it falls to them to retrieve the bodies.

  • Reader

    Pat McLarnon: Let’s be clear the IRA killed these informers and agents, thus it falls to them to retrieve the bodies.
    Don’t you mean *alleged* informers and agents?

  • Pat Mc Larnon


    I need no advice on what i chose to write.

  • Sean

    If you are expecting sack cloth and ashes from the IRA you should have some one pinch you. Obviously you are asleep and dreaming! But the IRA is trying to help with the Issue of the disapeared but since they obviously couldnt keep detailed maps they are relying on 25 year old memmories or legends because the people who did know have passed on.

    Right or wrong is in the eye of the beholder and I would sugest that help in recovery is the most that you can expect

  • susan

    I need no advice on what i chose to write.

    Posted by Pat Mc Larnon

    Columba McVeigh was seventeen years old when he was killed, Pat. Seventeen years old. S-e-v-e-n-t-e-e-n. How effective an “informer” or “agent” did you know him to be, Pat? What impartial evidence have you sifted through, what first hand testimony have you questioned in depth and found to be true?

    People will use whatever words they choose to describe the disappeared — these individuals have all been dead over thirty three to twenty one years. Not in position to offer a vigorous self-defense, are they?

    But the families of these people have suffered decades, agonising over why a son or brother was killed, whether or how they were tortured, where their bodies lie, wondering even against all hope whether they are really dead at all. Does it really cost you or any of the rest of us anything to refer to them simply as “the Disappeared”?

    Yes, the IRA assures us all were agents or informers. Well, they would, wouldn’t they?

    The smallest village credit union is not immune from human error, petty rivalries and middle management plonkers, why on earth would paramilitaries under extreme duress be infallible? Who branded these people informers, and why? How many Scaps, Fultons, and Donaldsons have come to light as agents? How many have not?

    And if the Disappeared were agents or informers, do we know why? Remember the youngest of them was just seventeen. Were they acting from conviction, ideology, greed? Or did they go into some dark hole in Crumlin Road, Bressbrook, or Castlereagh and come out wrecked in mind, body or spirit in ways few of us can understand?

    Gerry Kelly and Ian Paisley and scores of others on all sides of the conflict have been allowed to move forward from the darkest days of their pasts. What does it cost to spare the Disappeared a little dignity in death? If it provides some small aid or tangible comfort to those they left behind to refer to them as the Disappeared, why not do so?

  • Pete Baker

    The answer to your question, susan, lies in the agreement from the governments, on behalf of us, the people, that no prosecutions will arise – officially – on the basis of forensics from any subsequent finds from engagement, by those responsible, with the inquiry.

    I say ‘officially’ because there is the fact that the body of Jean McConville was found despite any information given – not because of it – but no forensic evidence has ever been produced and no prosecution is ever likely.

    Say ‘hello’ to the new boss..


    That’s funny, Pat, because you still claim Scappaticci was not a tout and yet he did more damage to the IRA than any of the disappeared put together. Yet he walks around not only a free man but protected by you and your superiors in the Sinn Fein leadership. Why is that?

    Keeping Spinning, Pat, it is what why we love you so!

  • Dougal

    SF supports what the Provos did so we can only conclude that this how our “Ireland of Equals” is to be fashioned?

    Shame on the treasonous Provos and anyone who supports them, but hey, there was a war on right?

  • Briso

    Posted by Pat Mc Larnon on Apr 02, 2007 @ 07:17 PM
    >Let’s be clear the IRA killed these informers
    >and agents, thus it falls to them to retrieve
    >the bodies.

    And who is doing damage to SF’s prospects in the election? The ‘free-staters’? They should put your quote on their election posters. Cold, heartless and stupid.

  • The Dubliner

    Briso, there you have it…

    You can see the utter cynicism of PSF’s party machine operatives: they’ll all in favour of gaining whatever votes they can by association with PIRA, but as soon as the ugly reality of PIRA’s sectarian murder campaign comes into public view, they’re lightening quick to disassociate from PIRA by claiming “It’s nothing to do with us. Talk to the IRA.”

    To this end, they still see themselves as morally fit to hold public office despite seeking to blacken the reputations of those they murdered as an expedient means of ensuring that their nationalist supporters don’t even see their victims as human beings, but as “informers/traitors” who deserve no sympathy from those supporters.

    It isn’t even enough malice for them to have anointed themselves as judge, jury and executioner of innocent people, ignominiously dumped bodies into ditches and deprived their families of a Christian burial or any sense of closure, they have to insult the dead (for doing no more, allegedly, than supporting the police service), lest to do what is decent would cost them precious votes among those misguided enough to support that morally depraved party.

    To top it all off, the boss of PSF/PIRA’s internal security unit (charged with detecting informers) was an informer working for the FRU, Freddie Scappaticci. He murdered up to 40 people on behalf of PSF/PIRA who it is alleged were informers. Of course, the whole purpose of British Intelligence putting an agent into the internal security unit of PSF/PIRA is to ensure that their informers were not detected by that unit. So, all that PSF/PIRA murdered there were murders carried out by proxy of the British state – state collusion with terrorist death squads.

    Gerry Adams was Belfast Brigade commander of PIRA who established the “Unknowns” as a means of ‘disappearing’ innocent people. As Eamonn McCann commented: “According to [Ed] Moloney, Adams, as Belfast Brigade commander, established a number of self-sustaining secret cells, the Unknowns, reporting directly to himself, to handle the problem of informers whose punishment might embarrass the movement–volunteers from committed republican families or the likes of Jean McConville. The Unknowns would kill the miscreants and dispose of the bodies in secret.”

  • Pat Mc Larnon


    is there a point to your emotionally rancid outburst?


    your post doesn’t make any sense, can you explain further?


    The IRA campaign has been analysed to death so there is little point in anyone trying to disassociate themselves from it. As it is the British Army / RUC et al cynicall and opportunistically operated informers within the nationalist community. When those people were caught they were executed by the IRA. Thus the simple fact remains while a lot of forces contributed to these deaths it is the responsibility of the IRA to recover the bodies.

  • Briso

    Pat wrote :


    >your post doesn’t make any sense, can you explain further?

    You claim that this issue has been ressurected at this precise moment to damage SF’s chances. I would have thought your comment smearing the dead would be more likely to damage them than the dig itself. You have a tin ear and your comment about the ‘free-staters’ will win you few votes either.

    I thought Susan’s contribution on the morality of branding these long dead people was valid also, and far from ’emotionally rancid’. Tin ear, Pat.

    Finally, even you must know that some of those killed and branded informers were innocent even in the terms set by the IRA itself. There is no certainty in this matter and a bit of ‘catch yourself on’ is required.

  • Pat Mc Larnon


    the fact remains that information was passed last year. A further fact is that I (along with others) accurately predicted when these fresh digs would take place.

    ‘Tin ear’ really is that the best you can offer up. Also on the question of votes I note you take the same opportunistic line as those who timed the dig. It has nothing to do with votes

    Your point on Susan contribution is yours to make. I stick by my original thought of it being emotionally rancid.

    On the point of informers, the sole blame is at the feet of those who chose to use them as pawns. If you have any complaints take it up with them, I haven’t the time.

  • Dougal

    SF and the Provos represent the treasonous Irish and with the likes of Pat Mc Larnon, Roisin and the other Shinner sycophants on here willing to excuse, ignore or turn a blind eye to the atrocities carried out in the name of Ireland, we see that Irish unity is as long away now as it has ever been.

  • merrie


    I really like your term “emotionally rancid”, though I do not necessarily agree with your use of it here.

    As you said “the simple fact remains while a lot of forces contributed to these deaths it is the responsibility of the IRA to recover the bodies”.

    Out of topic, two instances where “emotionally rancid” definitely applies:
    1. all that stuff about Diana when she died (really most things said in favour of Diana)

    2. Anything about which The Sun newspaper gets upset


  • susan

    Pat, my point was that I find your branding of all the Disappeared as “informers and agents” needless and cruel. Reader reminded you that without proof the very least you could do is identify them as “alleged informers and agents,” and you loftily informed us that you need no advice on what you chose to write.

    Perhaps you have access to objective evidence in ALL these cases, and there are vast differences between them. Or perhaps you still believe PIRA infallible, in the same way that some still stonily insist that anyone lifted, interned, incarcerated or killed by crown forces was or is surely guilty of something.

    Was it “rancid emotionalism” to point out Columba McVeigh, who you seem to be saying you “know” beyond doubt was an informer or agent, was seventeen years old when he was executed? Was it “rancid emotionalism” to point out that these people have parents, brothers, sisters, and, in the case of at least one, children who have agonised about their fates for decades?

    Well, Pat, just because it may be “emotionally rancid” does not mean it isn’t true, does it?

    The GFA achieved a sort of amnesty for hundreds of released prisoners. Why not extend small modicum of not even compassion, but simple human decency to those long dead and to their families and refer to the Disappeared simply as the Disappeared?

  • Pat Mc Larnon


    what was ‘needless’ and ‘cruel’ was the exploitation of vulnerable and often mentally unstable people to act as spies against their own community.

    Of course the people who devised such a strategy get George Medals, stain glassed windows and six figure pension sums. Plus they get a by ball under the ‘we saved more lives than we cost’ bilge.

    Spare me your fake emotionalism and direct your ire where it belongs

  • susan


    My emotionalism is many things, but fake isn’t one of them.

    It was needless and cruel to exploit vulnerable and often mentally unstable people to act as spies against their own community.

    It was also needless and cruel to make their innocent family members agonise for decades about the whereabouts of their bodies, or whether they were dead at all.

    Are you still claiming every execution or exclusion sanctioned by PIRA was necessary and justified? Are you really”

    Catch yourself on.


    Compare Columba with Freddy Scap, and you will see where Pat loses his way. One is a matter for the IRA which Pat needs no advice on and any hint of criticism of his position is mere rancid emotionalism. The other Pat does not even believe was an informer, defends to the last, and thinks the cover-up of his activities is completely justified.

    Just so we all know where Pat is coming from.

  • merrie

    “I believe freddy & pat”: Can we believe what you say?

    How do you know better than Pat where he is coming from?

    What do you know about Columba and his activities (or Scap’s for that matter)?

  • The Dubliner

    Susan, Pat is determined to blame anyone for the murders except those who actually committed them.

    Of course, nowadays PSF tell people to report information about republican activity to Her Majesty’s police service instead of murdering them for reporting information about republican activity to Her Majesty’s police service. This is to be welcomed as progress.

    Now if we can just teach them about the concept of legal responsibility. 😉

  • The Dubliner

    Since many of those who were murdered are allegedly buried in the south, perhaps the Dublin government should set up a commission with powers to subpoena those who may have relevant knowledge. As Gerry Adams was in charge of PIRA’s ‘Disappearing’ death squad, he is highly likely to have knowledge pertinent to the ongoing investigations.

    Unlike Martin McGuinness perjuring himself to the Saville Inquiry into Bloody Sunday and discovering that his ‘protected species’ status extended to not being prosecuted for it, Mr Adams may find that he does not enjoy similar status from the Irish judicial system, if he is less than forthcoming or truthful in his testimony to an Irish commission of inquiry.

  • I Wonder

    I understood the point you were making perfectly and I do not accept the description of your post by Pat McLarnon. That man’s comments and attitude to dead people are despicable. The only difference between them and every last one of us is time. The difference between you and Pat is common human decency – you have it – he doesn’t.

  • Briso

    Posted by Pat Mc Larnon on Apr 03, 2007 @ 12:05 PM

    >‘Tin ear’ really is that the best you can offer up….

    No, the best I can offer up was in my original post. Cold, heartless and stupid.

  • Pat Mc Larnon


    ‘Susan, Pat is determined to blame anyone for the murders except those who actually committed them.’

    I always give other posters the benefit of the doubt, in your case it is the ability to read. I have stated quite categorically who was responsible for the deaths and who are responsible for retrieving the bodies.


    your rancid emotionalism does you no favours, especially as there are archives of threads on this same issue. I am unaware if you were around to contribute to them. As it is go read up on them and then give me a shout.

  • Pat Mc Larnon


    ‘No, the best I can offer up was in my original post. Cold, heartless and stupid.’

    Don’t be so hard on yourself.

  • susan

    I Wonder, I am glad someone understood the point I was making perfectly, I often confuse even myself. Any kind of moral absolutism has long been beyond my ken, my grasp, and most definitely my reach.

    My point in posting on this topic was not so large as to try to examine all the root causes and assign moral responsibilities for all the deaths, nor so small as to personally demonise Pat or any other individual. I actually did have a small hope Pat might concede the point and agree in future to refer to the Disappeared simply as the Disappeared. Pat himself did say that those who actually were informers were “vulnerable” and “emotionally unstable” — in gentler times and gentler places both those descriptions can be synonymous with innocence.

    Mainly I suppose I was talking through Pat to appeal to others , perhaps more seasoned or more personally stricken by the sickening shades of grey that often permeated all three sides of the conflict.

    The Vera McVeighs among us ( are in no condition to challenge any of us to handbags at dawn. A bit of common sense, a little kindness, hurts no one. Few of us realistically expect the families’ searches for justice or answers to go anywhere, but I believe most of us still hope these families will at last and at least recover the remains of their loved ones. Until that time, the small favour of referring to The Disappeared as The Disappeared, or merely by their given names, is the least we can do.

  • I Wonder

    “I believe most of us still hope these families will at last and at least recover the remains of their loved ones.”

    Indeed we do.

  • Dougal

    Like many SF voters, Pat Mc Larnon obviously finds it easier to delude himself than face up to the fact that the Shinners AND those who vote for them support the treasonous face of Irish Nationalism. All we ever hear from them is the tired pitiful excuse that the Provos were no better or no worse than the others (Brits, Loyalist death squads etc). As if this somehow excuses what was done, in the name of Ireland – in the name of decent Irish men and women!

    Pat Mc Larnon, like other Shinner sycophants is not ready for debate. He is happy with his self-delusion. Ireland of Equals? I don’t think so. May be the Shinners and their voter can ignore what was done in the name of Irish freedom bjt thankfully their are more who can’t and won’t forget!

  • nothere

    What i’d like to see is a South African style Truth and Reconciliation commission established.

    The police ombudsman has looked into and found evidence of collusion between loyalists and the British Forces. I want whatever human rights crimes and violations committed by the state to be brought out into the open. Even if amnesty must be granted, at least it will highlight and deal with those not fit to serve in the police and security services.

    Likewise i want loyalists and republicans who carried out human rights violations throughout the troubles to have their wrongs revealed to the public.

    When there are people in public office who are suspected of having directed executions, murder, torture and other human rights violations, the public deserves the right to know who did what and when.