"Disappeared" body found in grave

The exhumation of a body in County Monaghan on Tuesday is linked to the cases of the "disappeared" it has been confirmed.

The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains received information about a body buried in a grave where another set of remains is interred.

The remains exhumed from a church graveyard near Scotstown, County Monaghan are believed to be those of Columba McVeigh. Previous digs for the Tyrone man have taken place nearby in recent years.

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Mr. McVeigh, 17, from Donaghmore, County Tyrone, was abducted and murdered by the IRA in 1975.

North Monaghan coroner, Dr. Martin Watters, confirmed that he authorized the exhumation from a named grave in a cemetery next to a church in Urbleshanny.

"In the recent past I gave the go ahead for an exhumation to identify the remains within that grave," he said.

"It was an official grave within the graveyard."

A Garda spokesperson said the purpose of the exhumation "is to carry out a forensic examination to establish if a victim that comes within the remit of the commission was buried at this location."

State pathologist, Professor Marie Cassidy, was on site for the exhumation.

Columba McVeigh's brother, Oliver, said that until DNA tests are completed the family can't build up any hopes.

"It would be great if it was Columba and we could give him a Christian burial, but I haven't been given any indications at this stage," he said.

Sixteen people were murdered and "disappeared" by republican paramilitaries during the Troubles, but only nine bodies have so far been recovered, three of whom in the past year.