SDLP repeats call for information on Disappeared

April 17, 2012

By Christine Keighery

SDLP Newry and Armagh MLA, Dominic Bradley, has repeated his call for people to come forward with information which may help in the location of the remains of people who disappeared during the Troubles.

In a motion to be debated at Stormont today (Monday), the SDLP acknowledge the progress that has been made in locating the remains of disappeared victims, recognising the work of the families, the Independent Commission for the location of Victims’ Remains, WAVE Trauma Centre and others in achieving that progress.  However, they note that some families are still waiting and call on anyone with information which might help in the location of the remains to share that information with the Commission, through whatever means they choose, without further delay.

Speaking ahead of the motion on the issue, Mr Bradley said: “While a lot of progress has been made in locating the remains of disappeared victims, a lot more remains to be done and can be done if people come forward to the Commission with information about the location of victims’ remains.

“Some families are still waiting to give their loved ones a proper Christian burial and it is vital that they are given answers and the opportunity to lay their relative to rest.

“These families have endured so much pain over the years and deserve some form of justice.

“I strongly appeal to anyone who may know something, no matter how small it may seem, that may help the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains, to pass it on confidentially and without fear as a matter of urgency.”

Anne Morgan, sister of Newry man Seamus Ruddy, one of the eight remaining Disappeared, is to attend Stormont for the Motion, along with other members of the missing man’s family.

The Ruddy family has tirelessly campaigned for the recovery of their brother’s remains.  It is believed that Mr Ruddy, who was 32 at the time of his disappearance, was killed by members of the INLA.  He went missing while working as a teacher in Paris in 1985.  Despite two searches in a forest at Point de l’Arche, near Rouen, Seamus’s body has never been found.

Speaking to The Examiner, Anne said: “Our plea is the same, we need more information.  Seamus will be missing 27 years in May this year. His 60th birthday will take place on June 2nd and his family will mark this in a special way.

“We have been robbed of the opportunity to celebrate this with him by a group of unfeeling, self-motivated and selfish people. Someone knows exactly where Seamus is buried but is not telling us. All we want to do is give him a Christian burial and repatriate him to Newry to be buried with his mother Molly and his father John.”

Stating that the family does not seek reprisal, Anne added: “We know that no one will be charged with his murder but we appeal to those that know where he is secretly buried, to come forward and to put us out of our agony.”

On May 3rd, as part of the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival in Belfast, a Requiem service will be celebrated in St Ann’s Cathedral, Belfast.  A special Requiem has been written especially for The Disappeared, which, the families hope, will arouse interest in and further their campaign. As Anne says, “The families of The Disappeared are a very patient group who still live with hope”.