Page last updated at 15:42 GMT, Tuesday, 11 November 2008

'Disappeared' family in DNA wait

A previous search for Danny McIlhone 's remains
DNA tests on the remains are being carried out

The family of one of the Disappeared, Danny McIlhone, are awaiting the results of DNA tests carried out on remains found in County Wicklow.

The remains were found during a search on behalf of the commission set up to find the bodies of the so-called Disappeared.

Mr McIlhone went missing from his west Belfast home in 1981. The IRA has since claimed responsibility for his death.

His family have said they were hoping and praying for good news.

There have been two unsuccessful searches - in 1999 and 2000 - for Danny McIlhone's remains.

"We hope and pray for good news," read a statement released by the McIlhone family on Monday night. "We also ask the media to respect our privacy and stay away from the family."

In a statement in 1999, the IRA said Mr McIlhone was not suspected of being an informer but was being questioned about stealing IRA weapons.

It was claimed that he was killed in a struggle with the person who was guarding him.

We hope and pray for good news
McIlhone family statement

On Tuesday, Oliver McVeigh, the brother of Columba McVeigh whose remains have never been found, appealed for more information.

"We pray that there is some positive news for the McElhone family, but there is no positive news for our family at the moment.

"It is very traumatic, all the families want is for the people to come forward with the information and get these people a Christian burial.

"The McElhone incident has proved that if the right information comes forward, these experts can find them."

News of the discovery, made in Ballynultagh area, has been welcomed by Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams.

"The apparent discovery of Danny McIlhone's remains will come as a great relief for his family," said Mr Adams.

"It is also evidence that republicans continue to work diligently on this important issue.

"It will also be an encouragement to the other families who are still hoping that the remains of their loved ones will be found."


Alex Attwood, SDLP, said: "The heart of the whole community will go out to the family if these reports prove correct and there will be every understanding and solidarity with the family who may now see the return of their loved one.

"This only confirms that serious questions still continue about the conduct of the IRA in this case of abduction and death and in all the cases of the Disappeared."

The IRA admitted in 1999 that it murdered and buried nine of the so-called Disappeared - Seamus Wright, Kevin McKee, Jean McConville, Columba McVeigh, Brendan Megraw, John McClory, Brian McKinney, Eamon Molloy and Mr McIlhone - in secret locations.

The bodies of four - Eamon Molloy, Brian McKinney, John McClory and Jean McConville - have been found.

Others who vanished during the Troubles include Gerry Evans, Charles Armstrong, Robert Nairac and Seamus Ruddy, who disappeared in France and whose murder was admitted by the INLA.

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