In the thirty years of conflict and atrocity in Northern Ireland, a small group of people stood apart: they were the “missing,” the “Disappeared”—absent and yet somehow still present. Even their exact number was uncertain, though there were at least fifteen people whose whereabouts had remained shrouded in misinformation and doubt since the 1970s and early 1980s. Despite considerable obfuscation, their fate and whereabouts were directly linked to what was colloquially known as “The Troubles.” Apart from Capt. Robert Nairac, an undercover British soldier, they were all Catholics and widely assumed to have been “disappeared” by the IRA through its internal policing of the movement and the wider Catholic community. What separated this group from other “policings” was the silence, the denial, and the absence of a body for relatives, relieved of their uncertainty, to bury. This denial continued for over twenty-five years.
On March 29, 1999, as a result of the ongoing peace process, the IRA issued a statement in which they apologized, recognized the “injustice of prolonging the suffering of victims’ families,” and admitted to “the killing and secret burial” of ten people. Despite internal enquiries, they only managed to locate the burial places of nine of those victims: Brian McKinney, John McClory, Danny McIlhone, Brendan Megraw, Jean Mc Conville, Kevin McKee, Seamus Wright, Columba McVeigh, and Eamonn Molloy.
Excerpt from his essay in the FOTOFEST2006 catalogue