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Wednesday, 1 May, 2002, 19:53 GMT 20:53 UK
New search for 'Disappeared' victim
Police have begun a new search in Monaghan
Police have begun a new search in Monaghan
Irish police have begun a new search in County Monaghan for the remains of a man abducted by the IRA in 1981.

The dig on Wednesday is for one of the 'Disappeared', who is believed to have been murdered by the group and secretly buried during the Troubles.

The police in the Irish Republic, the Garda Siochana, said the dig was likely to take several days.

They said it followed new information being passed to the independent commission set up to locate victims' bodies.

Charlie Armstrong
Charlie Armstrong was abducted in 1981
The information concerned the disappearance of Charles Armstrong, a 57-year-old father-of-five from Crossmaglen in south Armagh, who went missing in 1981.

Security forces believed he was kidnapped by the IRA.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Mr Armstrong's family said he had disappeared on 16 August 1981 on his way to Mass in Crossmaglen.

"His car was found at the Adelphi Cinema, Dundalk. It was unlocked and contained residues of gunpowder," said the statement.

"We have waited for the past 21 years not knowing what happened or where he was buried.

"August 16 has been the loneliest day of the year for the family. We hope that the search started today will bring relief to our suffering.

"We have prayed that the day would come when a search could be conducted and his body found. All we wish for is a Christian burial."


We will be delighted if we can deliver and bring closure here

Inspector James Marks

The family said their thoughts were with the other families of The Disappeared.

Gardai said a number of locations would be searched near Carrickmacross, not far from the border with Northern Ireland.

Inspector James Marks from Carrickmacross Garda Station is part of the search team.

He said he and his colleagues would continue the search until they knew if Mr Armstrong was there.

"We are optimistic and we will thrash it out until such times as we are confident there is nothing here.

"We will be delighted if we can deliver and bring closure here."

The issue of the 'Disappeared' was highlighted in March 1999 after the IRA admitted killing nine people and gave a commitment to help to find their graves.

Excavations

The bodies of three victims were found at unmarked graves after being pinpointed by an IRA intermediary.

After massive excavations of sites on both sides of the Northern Ireland border, the remains of Eamon Molloy, who disappeared in 1975 were found.

John McClory, 17, and Brian McKinney, 23, who were thought to have been be murdered in 1978, were later discovered.

Six other bodies have never been found.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's Julian O'Neill:
"Gardai began digs this morning following new information"
See also:

20 May 00 | Northern Ireland
Searches over for Disappeared
15 May 00 | Northern Ireland
Shift in search for IRA victim
13 May 00 | Northern Ireland
Search continues for IRA victims
02 May 00 | Northern Ireland
Search for Disappeared restarts
01 May 00 | Northern Ireland
New victims search welcomed
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