Wednesday, June 30, 1999 Published at 17:23 GMT 18:23 UK
Body finds encourage searchers
Police remove the two bodies
Gardai searching for IRA victims - known as the "Disappeared" - have extended their search for Jean McConville, who was killed in 1972 for comforting a wounded British soldier.
The search has been widened at the Templeton beach site in County Louth following the discovery on Tuesday of two bodies.
This discovery followed fresh information delivered to the Victims' Commission at the weekend.
Garda Superintendent John Farrelly said Tuesday's find gave new impetus to the searches continuing at the County Louth site and at other locations in Monaghan and Meath, after the IRA passed information to the Disappeared Commission a month ago.
He said: "I'd say this is a very encouraging sign - the fact that information was given on 29 May that two bodies were buried here. It's now a calendar month on, but we are delighted for the families' sake. I think there's relief there.
"If we get information we will return to any site and carry out searches to finality."
Jean McConville, 37, a widowed mother of 10, was abducted from her home in the republican Divis area of west Belfast in 1972. The IRA claimed she had been buried at the isolated Templeton beach on the Cooley peninsula, County Louth.
Their mothers, Margaret McKinney and Mary McClory followed hearses containing the remains from the bog.
A sister of John McClory said it was the end of a long and painful ordeal for her mother.
Margaret McKinney's husband William said: "People have been praying really hard lately, and maybe, just maybe this is a result of their prayers.
"Our hopes faded from time to time, but we never lost them completely. The neighbours have been a great source of strength.
"Hopefully this will be the beginning of the end for the family. I just hope now that the rest of the bodies can be recovered."
They are two of eight victims whom the IRA has admitted killing and burying in unmarked graves.
It had said the two were killed after stealing weapons from one of its arms dumps for use in robberies.
Intermediaries pointed Irish police to the locations of the eight bodies, in six different sites, at the end of May - following legislation granting immunity from prosecution over the cases and setting up the Disappeared Commission.
Hopes rose for the speedy recovery of the bodies after a ninth set of remains - believed to be those of Eamon Molloy, who disappeared in 1975 - were recovered from a graveyard near Dundalk, County Louth, within days.
But until Tuesday, excavation work at six further sites had failed to yield any trace of the victims.
The IRA was criticised for failing to give enough information on the location of the bodies. Excavations were suspended at two of the six sites a week ago.
Gardai said it will take some time to identify the remains.
The latest remains were found as some of the relatives met representatives of the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains (ICLVR), to whom the IRA intermediaries gave the locations of the bodies.