Gardaí have confirmed that the body found on a beach near Carlingford in Co Louth is that of Jean McConville.

The Taoiseach has offered the McConville family the deepest sympathy of himself and the Government at this sad time.

In a statement this evening, Mr Ahern said the confirmation that the remains were those of Jean McConville brings to an end a time of terrible uncertainty for the McConville family.

He said he hoped it would help the healing process for the family, who have endured so much pain through the loss of their mother.

Earlier, Gardaí announced that DNA tests have proven that the remains found at Shilling Hill beach last August were those of the west Befast woman.

Ms McConville, a mother of ten, was abducted and murdered by the IRA in 1972.

The area where the remains were discovered in August is close to the site where previous searches to locate McConville's grave proved unsuccessful.