Silent Walk for the Disappeared

1st November 2016

The 10th annual Silent Walk for the Disappeared will take place at Stormont at noon on Wednesday 2 November 2016.

Members of the Families of the Disappeared will walk from Carson’s Statue to the steps of Parliament Buildings where they will lay the black wreath with four white lilies representing those who have yet to be found.

Of the 17 Disappeared the remains of 13 have been recovered the most recent being those of Kevin McKee and Seamus Wright who were found by the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains (ICLVR) in a grave in Coghalstown Co Meath in June last year.

The inquest into their deaths is due to be held in Dublin later this month.

Geoff Knupfer who leads the ICLVR investigations will take part in the walk.

As in previous years members of the families who have had loved ones brought home for Christian burial will join in solidarity with those still waiting.

The four outstanding cases are Joe Lynskey, Columba McVeigh, Seamus Ruddy and Robert Nairac.

Among those expected to walk with the other families will be the sisters of Brian McKinney who was disappeared in 1978 and whose remains were found in Co Monaghan in 1999.

A transcript of a telephone conversation between President Clinton and the then Prime Minister Tony Blair released earlier this year reveal that Brian’s mother Margaret, who is now 84 and too frail to attend the walk, was instrumental in putting the issue of the Disappeared centre stage in the peace process when she told her story to President Clinton when she met him with a delegation from WAVE in the White House in 1998.

Commenting on the eve of the All Souls Day walk, Sandra Peake the CEO of the WAVE Trauma Centre which has supported the Families of the Disappeared since 1995 said:

It’s impossible to over estimate the impact on the families of having their mother or father, brother or uncle taken from them in this way.

If we have learned anything about dealing with the legacy of the past in Northern Ireland it is that time and mortality will not resolve it.

Mothers who put their son’s names on the family headstone literally passed on the responsibility of bringing him back to the next generation.

Since the last walk we have lost Phil Gearon, brother in law of Peter Wilson who was murdered in 1973 and whose body was recovered in 2010.

The families also lost a great friend and spiritual support with the passing of Father Gerry Reynolds from Clonard who led prayers on All Souls Day for many years.

And just last month Sean Ruddy the brother of Seamus who was murdered by the INLA in France in 1985 sadly died after a short illness.

Despite these loses the Families will continue to stand together until all the Disappeared are brought home”.

Seamus Ruddy’s brother Terry said “We cannot rest until Seamus is
brought home.

We know that the ICLVR is doing everything they can to find him and the support of the other families is vital to help keep us going.

As each year passes it gets harder to bear the pain but we will never lose hope and we pray that we will be able to lay Seamus to rest with our mother and father and now Sean.

It is where he should be”.

Anyone with information should contact the ICLVR’s confidential telephone number on 00800-55585500 or write to them on ICLVR, PO BOX, 10827, Dublin 2.

Photograph acknowledgment and copyright to Hugh Russell