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Wednesday, 24 November, 1999, 21:28 GMT
IRA victims were 'shot in head'
Many of the searches for the Disappeared proved fruitless

Three men who were abducted and murdered by the IRA more than 20 years ago died unlawfully, an inquest has heard.

The bodies of Brian McKinney, John McClory and Eamon Molloy were found earlier this year following digs at six separate sites in the republic of Ireland.



The Search for Peace
Dublin Coroner's Court heard on Wednesday that each of the men had died from single bullet wounds to the head.



The body of Mr Molloy, was discovered in a County Louth cemetery on 28 May. He was from the Ardoyne district of north Belfast and disappeared in 1975.

A month later the other two bodies were found in a bog in County Monaghan. The men from west Belfast, had disappeared together in 1978.

Members of the three victims' families were in court to hear the verdicts read out.

John McClory: Body found in a bog
They also sat through detailed reports on the examinations of the remains from the Irish State pathologist, Dr John Harbison.

Mr McKinney's mother Margaret asked the coroner if it were possible to find out if her son had died in the place where he was found.

But the coroner said they could only say that it was "probable" that both Mr McKinney and Mr McClory had died where their remains were found, but they could not be certain.

The coroner told the families that the only consolation he could offer them was that the victims had all died instantly.

Details of clothing

The court also heard details of clothing and jewellery that was found on the remains.

Remnants of twine were found near the bones of Mr McKinney and Mr McClory, indicating that the hands had been tied behind the backs of the victims.

A Timex watch had been found on the remains of Mr McKinney and the date on the watch was the 26th.

Both men were last seen by their families as they headed off to work on 25 May, 1978.

Brian McKinney : Abducted by the IRA in 1978
Mr Molloy's former wife, Kathleen Doran, told the court that a man had called to her house weeks before his body was recovered to tell her that he would soon be returned to her.

"The next thing I heard was on television that the remains of Eamon Molloy had been found in the graveyard in Faughart."

She said Mr Molloy had been wearing two gold rings when he disappeared. Both these rings were recovered on the body.

Dr Harbison said Mr Molloy had been shot through the top of the neck.

After the verdicts were read out, Coroner Brain Farrell appealed for information on the six other people murdered by the IRA who are still missing.

Mr McClory's mother Jean said she hoped the suffering of the other families would soon be brought to an end.

"I pray to God that anyone out there that has information, please give it and help these families," she said.

The bodies were found after information was given to the Victims' Commission by IRA intermediaries.

The Victims' Commission was a joint Irish and British Government initiative backed by legislation in Dublin and Westminister.
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See also:
20 Jul 99 |  UK
'Disappeared' families put lives on hold
06 Jun 99 |  From Our Own Correspondent
'Disappeared' return to haunt Ireland's conscience
31 May 99 |  UK
Profiles of the 'disappeared'
28 May 99 |  UK
Tragedies of the Troubles

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