A post mortem on the remains of a woman found in Co Louth yesterday has confirmed that she died of a single shotgun wound to the head.

Michael McConville, a son of Jean McConville who was murdered by the IRA in 1972, has said he believes the remains are those of his mother.

Mr McConville said he recognised a jumper which was found at the scene. DNA testing will be needed to confirm the identity of the body.

John Wilson, one of the two commissioners for the location of victims' remains, this afternoon visited the beach where the remains were found.

Mr Wilson said he hoped the discovery would help bring closure to the McConville family.

However, he said he was not optimistic about finding the remains of other IRA victims.

Speaking on RTÉ radio, Minister for Justice Michael McDowell said the murder of Ms McConville, a mother of ten, was an act of unspeakable cowardice.

Sinn Féin Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin has said his party hopes that the recovery of a body will bring closure to the McConville family's long search for their mother's remains.