Remains found in search for missing Newry man

May 8, 2017

Human remains found at a site in northern France where a search was taking place for Seamus Ruddy – one of the Disappeared – are believed to be those of the missing Newry man.

A team from the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims Remains (ICLVR) began digging in the area of forest at Pont-de-l’Arche, near Rouen on Tuesday last.  New information, understood to have come from the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP), which has close links to the INLA, prompted the fresh search after three previous attempts, the most recent of which was in 2008, were unsuccessful.

Thirty two year-old Mr Ruddy was a one-time IRSP activist and was working as a school teacher in Paris when he disappeared on 8th May 1985. It’s believed he was abducted and murdered by members of the INLA, before his body was secretly buried in the forest.

Mr Ruddy’s sister Ann Morgan met with lead investigators at the search site on Friday.  Expressing the family’s desire to find their brother’s body, she said: “All we want is to bring Seamus home to Monk’s Hill to be buried with our mother and father.”

Early on Saturday morning, human remains were uncovered at the site and the Ruddy family received the news they had waited so long to hear.  The family said they are delighted but have “mixed emotions”.

Seamus’s brother Terry described it as “a hugely emotional moment” while his sister Gertie said she had “a gut feeling” his body would be found in this search.

Mrs Morgan thanked the search teams and the French authorities, adding that the families of other Disappeared victims who are still missing, are foremost in their thoughts.

Coming just two days short of the 32nd anniversary of his disappearance, it is expected to take some time before examination and formal identification is completed and Seamus Ruddy’s final journey home to Newry can begin.

Sinn Féin’s Mickey Brady said that every effort must now be made to end the suffering of the families of the Disappeared following the discovery of remains.

“Growing up together in Ballybot, Seamus is somebody who I would have called a friend and my thoughts are with his family at this time,” he said.  ‘The suffering of the families has gone on too long. They have a fundamental right to bury their loved ones and there is an onus on those responsible to help bring this about.”

SDLP MLA Justin McNulty says the thoughts and prayers of the people of Newry are with the Ruddy family.

Describing the new as “great relief and sadness” for Mr Ruddy’s family, he said, “Thirty-two years ago this Tuesday, Seamus was abducted, murdered and then secretly buried.  Now the Ruddy family can bring Séamus home and hopefully find some peace in closure.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ruddy family today, as with all those families who lost loved ones in the Troubles.”