Monday 21 August 2017

Human remains found in France during search for missing Seamus Ruddy

Search in France for Seamus Ruddy (inset)
Search in France for Seamus Ruddy (inset)
Cathal McMahon

Cathal McMahon

Human remains have been found in Northern France by officers searching for missing Seamus Ruddy.

The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains (ICLVR) have been searching a forest area for the teacher who disappeared in 1985.

The ICLVR announced that the body parts were found in a forest at Pont-de-l'Arche near Rouen in northern France.

Experts began a fresh search of the area on Tuesday

Seamus Ruddy. Picture: seamusruddy.com
Seamus Ruddy. Picture: seamusruddy.com

Seamus Ruddy, a teacher from Newry, Co Down, was abducted from Paris, murdered and secretly buried by republican paramilitary group the INLA in 1985.

His body, thought to have been buried in a forest in northern France, has never been found.

The Disappeared are those who were abducted, murdered and secretly buried by republicans during Northern Ireland's Troubles.

Searches have been carried out by the ICLVR, which was set up to recover the bodies of those murdered and secretly buried, mainly by the IRA, in the 1970s and 1980s.

Search operation in a forest in France for the body of Seamus Ruddy, one of Northern Ireland's Disappeared. Photo: PA Wire
Search operation in a forest in France for the body of Seamus Ruddy, one of Northern Ireland's Disappeared. Photo: PA Wire

There have been three previous searches in the forest area for Mr Ruddy, the most recent by the ICLVR in 2008.

Mr Ruddy's sister Anne Morgan said earlier this week: "Seamus disappeared almost exactly 32 years ago on May 9 1985.

"All we can do is what we have been doing over these long years since, which is to pray that one day he'll be found.

"Hopefully that day will come as a result of this search.

"All we want is to bring Seamus home to Monk's Hill to be buried with our mother and father."

Speaking after the discovery, justice minister Frances Fitzgerald said: "I hope the discovery of remains in France will move us ever closer to finalising the tragic search for all of the Disappeared.

"For a family to be bereaved but denied the opportunity to bury their loved one is a terrible cruelty that is hard to imagine. At this time, I would like to remember all of the families of the Disappeared and the suffering which they have endured. In particular, my thoughts are with those families who still await recovery of the remains of their loved ones."

Despite extensive and painstaking searches, the bodies of four out of 16 people listed by the commission set up to locate victims' remains have never been found.

In addition to Seamus Ruddy, the remains of Columba McVeigh, Joe Lynskey and Robert Nairac have yet to be recovered.

The commission has asked anyone with information to contact them in complete confidence on 00800 555 85500, by writing to ICLVR, PO Box 10827, Dublin 2, or via the website www.iclvr.ie

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