Wednesday 23 May 2018

'We want to bring them home' - family of murdered teacher appeal for information about remaining 'Disappeared'

Seamus Ruddy: abducted and killed by the INLA in 1985
Seamus Ruddy: abducted and killed by the INLA in 1985

Louise Roseingrave

THE family of a teacher murdered and secretly buried 33 years ago have urged those with information about the remaining 'Disappeared' to come forward.

Seamus Ruddy from Newry, Co Down was 32 when he was shot twice in the head and secretly buried by republican paramilitaries in France.

He was abducted in Paris on May 9 1985. Speaking after his inquest at Dublin Coroner’s Court his sister Anne Morgan urged anyone with information to approach authorities.

“There are three other families still waiting for the people who have information about their loved ones. We want them to help bring those three people home.

“We pray they get the same that we have got. We’ve got him home, we’ve been able to bury him and now we’ve had an inquest. We want to thank everyone for helping us,” Ms Morgan said.

Seamus’s brother Terence Ruddy was the last family member to speak to him before he disappeared on May 9 1985. He was concerned because his brother said he’d made plans to meet three people later that day.

“When he said he was going to meet people I just thought he was telling me that for a reason. I asked him not to go,” Mr Ruddy said.

Seamus Ruddy moved from Newry to Dublin in 1979 and studied at Trinity College before moving to Paris in 1983 where he taught English as a foreign language. The following year his then partner Cecelia Moore moved to Paris to live with him. In 1985 she returned to Ireland.

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

“We wrote to each other practically every day,” she told Dublin Coroner’s Court.

On May 9 he posted a t-shirt to her from their local post-office in Paris at 6pm.

“I was expecting a letter but there was none,” she said.

In June she returned to Paris and made inquiries about his whereabouts. She reported him missing to the police.

“I felt he was dead. I felt if he was alive he’d have contacted me,” she said.

“There were things missing from the flat. Cameras, a box of letters, a tape recorder,” she told the inquest.

There was no trace of Mr Ruddy until September when a bag of his clothes was recovered from the River Seine.

Following newspaper reports in which the INLA admitted killing Mr Ruddy in France, his name was added to the family headstone in Newry.

Following three unsuccessful searches in 1999, 2000 and 2008 Mr Ruddy’s remains were finally located in a forest at Pont-de-l’Arche, near Rouen in northern France in May 2017.

One previous search had come within 15m of Mr Ruddy’s remains, Senior Investigator with the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims Remains (ICLVR) John Hill told the court.

The remains were identified using DNA and repatriated to Ireland on June 6 2017.

State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy gave the cause of death as gunshot wounds to the head.

The jury of four men and five women returned a verdict of unlawful killing by person or persons unknown.

“Seamus was taken from Paris 33 years ago to the day. This year for the first time in 33 years we were able to attend Cemetery Sunday and pray at the grave where Seamus rests with his mother and father in Newry,” Ms Morgan said.

Three of the 16 Disappeared victims are still to be recovered.

The remains of Columba McVeigh, Joe Lynskey and Robert Nairac have yet to be found.

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