The families of the ‘Disappeared’ are to offer support to the relatives of Peter Wilson as attempts are made to establish whether he was abducted and murdered by the IRA almost four decades ago.
The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains confirmed yesterday it is investigating the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Peter Wilson, who was just 21 when he went missing from his home in St James Road, west Belfast, in 1973.
Anne Morgan, the sister of one the the Disappeared, Seamus Ruddy, spoke of the mixed emotions the family of Peter Wilson will experience in the coming days and weeks.
“I feel it is good in one way for the family to realise that their loved one isn’t just missing and there will be the chance that they may find his body and will be able to give him a proper burial,” she said.
“Seamus went missing in 1985 and my mum always said he was just missing. She always held out hope that he would come home. We found out in 1995 that he was one of the Disappeared and it was the first time we knew he definitely wasn’t coming home.
“In one sense it was a release. It gave us a bit of hope that if the INLA was admitting they had murdered him they would provide the information we needed to find him.”
An intensive investigation, including several digs in France where Mr Ruddy was living when he went missing, have failed to locate his remains and Mrs Morgan described the anguish her family has suffered not knowing where her brother is.
“I feel as though we are still living in the Troubles,” she said.
“People call us survivors but I don’t see that because it is still going on for us. It will never end until we find Seamus. I am very angry that the information that has been provided hasn’t found Seamus.
“As a human being, I don’t believe that if you were involved in murdering someone or dug a grave for someone that you wouldn’t remember the location.
“The families of the Disappeared are there for each other. We talk to each other regularly and I’m sure we will be talking to the family of Peter Wilson to offer them support,” she said.
Seamus Ruddy was 32 when he vanished, while working as a teacher in Paris. The INLA murdered him and disposed of his body at a secret location in May 1985.
In December 1995 INLA leader Gino Gallagher (left) admitted the group’s responsibility for his death, claiming it would help recover his remains. Two weeks later, Gallagher was himself killed in an INLA feud.
In February 1999 information surfaced suggesting the body was buried in a shallow grave at Rouen. The French authorities carried out preliminary searches but without success. A further dig in 2008 also failed to locate the remains.