A body has been found in a bog in Co Meath where a man abducted and murdered was believed to have been secretly buried by the IRA.
The human remains were found in a drainage ditch on Oristown bog, near Kells, Co Meath by contractors called into to prepare the site for forensic excavations.
Newly-wed Brendan Megraw from Twinbrook, was looking forward to the birth of his first child and was due to start a new job on a ship when he went missing in April 1978 aged 23.
Investigators from the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’Remains (ICLVR) — set up by the British and Irish Governments to liaise with former paramilitaries to find the Disappeared — confirmed a body was being recovered.
“The State pathologist will begin the process of a post mortem and formalidentification,” a spokesman said.
Mr Megraw was one of 17 people abducted, killed and clandestinely buried byrepublicans during the Troubles.
The recovery of the body is now under way.
It is understood the excavations proper had not begun and clearance and preparation works were taking place when the discovery was made.
Forensic archaeologists surveyed the remote bogland one month ago and have spent the last few weeks analysing radar surveys.
Separate searches have also taken place on bogland a few miles from the Oristown site, near Wilkinstown, for Kevin McKee and Seamus Wright, both of whom were taken by the IRA in October 1972.
It is also suspected Joseph Lynskey, a former Cistercian monk taken from the Beechmount area of west Belfast in the summer of 1972, was also buried somewhere in the region.
Investigators believe one person living locally may hold vital clues to severalfamilies’ decades-long quest to find the bodies of loved ones.
The IRA claimed Mr Megraw had confessed to being a British provocateur and Military Reaction Force undercover agent in 1978.
The remains of 10 of the Disappeared have been recovered.
The Megraw family were notified about the discovery at about 10am. Kieran, one of Brendan’s brothers, said he hoped the discovery would end feelings of helplessness.
“For our own family it was not until 1999 that we knew Brendan was dead andburied in Oristown. There will always be questions, but if this is Brendan and we get him home, that is the target.
“The target was to get Brendan’s body back. If he was killed at the spot in Oristown he was all alone, and you think he would have thought he would never be back home — that’s the thought most people would not want to happen to them, being alone. There was always a massive frustration when you felt that he was there and you couldn’t find him and couldn’t bring him home — that’s now gone, we hope.”
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams welcomed the discovery.
“I hope the identity of the remains can be quickly verified and that this discovery will bring some closure to the family and loved ones of Brendan Megraw,” he said.
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