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Saturday, 13 May, 2000, 17:05 GMT 18:05 UK
Search continues for IRA victims
Irish police have been diggig at five sites
Searches have not revealed Disappeared victims' remains
Time is running out in the search for the remains of IRA murder victims secretly buried in the 1970s.

The commissioner for the location of the Disappeared, Sir Kenneth Bloomfield, has said the searches cannot continue indefinitely.

Sir Kenneth was speaking at Templetown Beach, County Louth, in the Republic of Ireland on Saturday where the search for the remains of Jean McConville began last Easter.

Sir Kenneth Bloomfield:
Sir Kenneth Bloomfield: ""It would be awful if these families were left grieving"
Five sites, believed to hold the bodies of six members of the Disappeared, are being investigated in the Republic of Ireland.

Sir Kenneth visited several of the sites where digging is continuing to find the bodies.

He said: "What we are very anxious to do is bring these episodes to some feeling of closure.

"Now the best way to achieve that would be to recover the bodies to have a decent Christian burial.

"If that can't be done, it would be nice to find some other means of closure.

"It would be awful if these families were left grieving and hoping forever."

Sir Kenneth met members of the McConville family, who have expressed concern at the accuracy of information about the location of the grave.

Jean McConville was abducted from her west Belfast home by the IRA in 1972 after she went to the aid of a fatally wounded soldier outside her front door.

The family has appealed for more precise information from the IRA.

Excavations for the bodies began in May 1999, but were stopped in July because of a lack of precise information from the IRA.

The searches resumed on 2 May after the IRA supplied more information to the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains.

The sites being searched include a beach and bogs. Geologists believe there would have been substantial underground changes since the victims' bodies were buried.

Superintendent John Farrelly
John Farrelly: Families are not seeing any progress
The Irish police are also looking for the remains of Columba McVeigh at Bragan in County Monaghan, Danny McIlhone at Ballynultagh in County Wicklow, Kevin McKee and Seamus Wright in Coghallstown near Navan in County Meath and Brendan Megraw at Oristown near Kells in County Meath.

Last year Gardai recovered the bodies of Eamon Molloy, left in a coffin in a graveyard in County Louth, and John McClory and Brian McKinney, whose remains were found after weeks of digging in County Monaghan.

On Friday, the tenth day of searches due to last three weeks, Garda Superintendent John Farrelly said that while they have not given up hope, they are increasingly disappointed.

"Obviously at this point the heads are beginning to go down, especially with the families at some of the sites.

"They are seeing the digs are going on but no progress is being made and of course our people are there and being human they are despondent," he said.

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See also:

02 May 00 | Northern Ireland
Search for Disappeared restarts
01 May 00 | Northern Ireland
New victims search welcomed
07 Dec 99 | Northern Ireland
Hopes raised over 'Disappeared' remains
30 May 99 | Europe
Long wait over IRA victims
30 May 99 | Europe
Search resumes for IRA victims
28 May 99 | UK
Tragedies of the Troubles
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