Donegal Senator Niall Blaney led a Seanad motion this week calling for anyone who has information about the Disappeared, however small, to inform the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains families.
There were nineteen people who ‘disappeared’ as a result of paramilitary organisations during The Troubles/Conflict. Of these nineteen, to date fourteen of the victims have been recovered with five still missing.
Lisa Dorrian who disappeared in 2005 and Gareth O’Connor who disappeared in 2003 are included in these 19. Their cases were not included in the remit and legislation for the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims Remains (ICLVR) which can only work on the cases of those who disappeared up to the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.
Senator Blaney told the Seanad: “The ‘Disappeared’ are a tragic symbol of the loss of life and hurt experienced by communities in the North during the Troubles. We have brought this motion forward to call on anyone with any sort of information in relation to those people who remain disappeared to come forward.”
He called on Sinn Féin to put a refocus on continuing a quest for justice and righting the wrongs of the past.
The motion acknowledged that communities within the North have been silent concerning the cases of these missing people as a result of the fear of the consequences of speaking out.
Senator Erin McGreehan, who seconded the motion, said: “There are still families out there suffering, living with the agony of the loss and the torture of the unknown. There must be some humanity left in the people who know the whereabouts of the remaining 5 people, and I plead to them to give some relief to families.”
Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile from Sinn Féin said his party supports the motion and said: “I support truth and justice, and I want to see truth and justice prevail for all.”
Justice Minister Simon Harris said: “The Government will support the passage of the motion through the House. At its core, it is a motion about victims and their families.”
“Those responsible took a loved one in brutal circumstances and then compounded that pain, grief and cruelty by depriving the family of the remains, a funeral and the tradition of grief and closure one goes through after a period of loss.”
Senator Blaney added: “Since the inception of the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims Remains in 1999, no person has ever been interviewed as a suspect, arrested, charged or convicted as a result of information that was passed to the Commission as such information can only be used to recover and repatriate victims. We are calling on anyone with information to please come forward to the commission. The families of the ‘Disappeared’ have long enough suffered through a lack of closure for their loved ones’ loss and it’s time we put that to an end.”