Northern Ireland

'Disappeared' victim Charlie Armstrong's funeral held

Charlie Armstrong
Image caption Mr Armstrong went missing on his way to Mass in 1981

The funeral has taken place of Crossmaglen man Charlie Armstrong, one of the so-called Disappeared.

Mr Armstrong, 57, is believed to have been abducted, murdered and secretly buried by the IRA, nearly 30 years ago.

His remains were found at the end of July in County Monaghan near the border with Northern Ireland.

Bishop Gerard Clifford told mourners: "Today is a day of relief, a day to close a chapter in the lives of the Armstrong family."

Mr Armstong went missing in 1981 on his way to Mass at St Patrick's in Crossmaglen, and 29 years later, his funeral service was held in the same church.

'Hope'

The bishop said it was "a day to welcome home one who was loved and respected in this community.

"It would be an exaggeration to say that it is a day of joy.

"The loss of one's own is as deeply felt today as it was 29 years ago.

"It is still a day of mourning for one's loved one. It is a day to end the torment, the fear, the frustration and the anger."

This week the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims Remains confirmed the remains were those of Mr Armstrong after DNA testing was carried out.

Bishop Clifford said it would give hope to other families still waiting for news about their loved ones.

"To anybody who might have a shred of information, I appeal to you to share that with those who will explore it to the full," he said.

Mr Armstrong's daughter Anna paid tribute to her mother Kathleen, adding: "All we ever wanted to do was give our father a Christian burial."

In a statement earlier this week, the Armstrong family expressed their thanks to those who helped locate his body and said they now needed time to grieve.

Sixteen people were murdered by republican paramilitaries and secretly buried in isolated parts of Ireland during the Troubles.

Six bodies of the people known as the Disappeared have been recovered, but others remain unfound.

The commission set up to find the remains was established in 1999.

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