Disappeared victim finally laid to rest

June 20, 2017

Mourners lined the streets of Newry on Saturday to pay their final respects to Disappeared victim, Seamus Ruddy, whose funeral mass took place in St Catherine’s Dominican Chapel in Newry, more than 30 years after his abduction and murder.

Family and friends of the 32 year old teacher were at last given the chance to say farewell after his remains were recovered in a forest at Pont-de-l’Arche outside Rouen in northern France last month.  Mr Ruddy was abducted in Paris in 1985 by the republican paramilitary group the INLA, before being murdered and then secretly buried.  He was a former member of the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) – the political wing of the INLA. It is believed he was murdered amid a dispute with INLA members about an arms dump.

The Newry man’s remains were found by the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains (ICLVR) on May 6th after new information was given to them by the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) and former INLA members.

Mr Ruddy’s relatives were supported at Requiem Mass by the families of other Disappeared victims, whilst candles representing the three remaining victims whose remains are still to be recovered were carried to the front of the chapel at the beginning of the moving service.

Delivering his homily, Bishop John McAreavey told mourners that his family had suffered years of not knowing where Seamus was buried and he said his death “represented the snuffing-out of a life that had many wholesome qualities.”

“It also cut off the promise of a new life in France,” he said.

“A family account of that time refers to letters and phone calls from Seamus, visits to him and plans to visit. ‘And then’, the account states, ‘there was nothing’.”

“In the years since his death, Seamus’s family and friends kept a long vigil,” added Bishop McAreavey.

“They grieved and prayed, they appealed for public support, which they hoped would lead to the recovery of his remains.””On Thursday, Seamus’s family and friends welcomed him home to Newry.

“They were finally been able to do what they always wanted to do – to have a wake, to celebrate a funeral Mass for Seamus and to say a personal and dignified farewell to him through the funeral liturgy.

“And in the months and years ahead they will be able to visit the grave where Seamus lies,”

Mr Ruddy’s sister Anne Morgan, who has campaigned tirelessly for information on the whereabouts of her brother’s remains, described the other Disappeared relatives as part of her family and she thanked everyone who had been involved in the long search.

“We will be forever grateful to you all,” she said.

Prayers were said for the families of the remaining Disappeared as well as for the ICLVR team and those who provided the information which led to the recovery of Mr Ruddy’s body.

Following Requiem Mass, Mr Ruddy was laid to rest alongside his parents Molly and John in Monk’s Hill Cemetery.