Map could help find body of IRA victim

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The Independent Online

Experts searching for the body of one of the IRA's victims have received a map which could provide vital clues, it was revealed today.

There was renewed optimism in the hunt for the remains of Charlie Armstrong, 57, who disappeared from his home in Co Armagh, Northern Ireland, in August 1981.

The fresh information was sent anonymously and indicated a previously unsearched area of the Irish Republic's borderland in Co Monaghan where the victim could be buried.

Mr Armstrong's daughter Anna McShane said it was important the sender contacted the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains.

"I would appeal, from the bottom of my heart and on behalf of my mother Kathleen, for the person who sent the map to contact the Commission," she said.

"All we want is to bring daddy home for the last time, give him a Christian burial and let us have a grave to visit and grieve."

The father-of-five from Crossmaglen went missing on his way to Mass. He is one of "The Disappeared" who is believed to have been murdered by the IRA and secretly buried during the conflict.

Ms McShane added: "It's difficult to keep your feelings in check because being one of the families of the disappeared, is like being on an emotional roller coaster.

"On the one hand this could be the breakthrough we've been praying for over the years and on the other it could lead to further heartbreak."

Several locations have already been searched near Carrickmacross, not far from the border with Northern Ireland.

A spokesman for the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains said: "This potentially could be the breakthrough we've been desperately hoping for in our search for the remains of Charlie Armstrong."

This is the third map which has been received on the case and investigators are taking the new material seriously. They want the person who sent it to contact them in confidence either directly or indirectly.

The Commission representative added: "We have always believed that he is buried in a bogland area in Colgah, County Monaghan but unfortunately, searches including one undertaken by the Commission last summer, have been unsuccessful.

"This new information is potentially significant. It is crucially important that we speak to the person who has sent the map.

"We believe we could be close to finding Charlie Armstrong's remains and a conversation with the person who sent this map, could provide that vital, final piece of information we need."

The Disappeared confidential telephone number is 00800-55585500.



THOSE FOUND

* Eamon Molloy: Abducted from his home in the Ardoyne, north Belfast in 1975 after IRA accused him of being informer. Body found in a coffin at Faughert graveyard near Dundalk, Co Louth in 1999 after IRA tip-off.

* Brian McKinney: Was 22 when abducted with his friend John McClory in 1978. Body was uncovered in a bogside location in Co Monaghan in 1999.

* John McClory: The 17-year-old’s body found at same site.

* Jean McConville: Widowed mother-of-10 killed in 1972 after going to aid of a fatally wounded British soldier outside her home in west Belfast's Divis flats. The 37-year-old's remains were found at Shelling Hill beach, Co Louth in August 2003.

* Danny McIlhone: The west Belfast man went missing from his home in 1981. The IRA said Mr McIlhone was being questioned about stealing weapons. Remains found in the Wicklow mountains in November 2008.



STILL MISSING

* Kevin McKee: IRA member from Belfast, alleged to have been a British army agent, was murdered by the IRA in 1972.

* Columba McVeigh: 17-year-old from Donaghmore, Co Tyrone, murdered by IRA in 1975.

* Brendan McGraw: IRA said 24-year-old from Belfast confessed to being a British provocateur and Military Reaction Force undercover agent in 1978.

* Seamus Wright: IRA member, who in 1972 was murdered by his former colleagues.

* Charles Armstrong: The 57-year-old father-of-five from Crossmaglen in south Armagh went missing on his way to Mass in 1981.

* Gerard Evans: Last seen hitch-hiking in County Monaghan in March 1979.

* Seamus Ruddy: It is believed the 32-year-old was killed by members of the INLA.

* Captain Robert Nairac: The SAS-trained officer was abducted by the IRA in May 1977.



Source: The Belfast Telegraph