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Sister of Disappeared victim praying search in France finds body

By Eamon Sweeney

The sister of one of the Disappeared is praying that the latest search for her murdered brother's body will be successful and allow Seamus Ruddy to finally be buried alongside his parents.

A fresh search for the Newry man, murdered by the INLA in 1985, will get under way in northern France this morning. It will cover an area about half the size of a football pitch.

It has always been believed that Seamus's remains were buried in a forest close to the Normandy town of Rouen.

He was one of 16 people known as the Disappeared who were murdered and buried in secret during the Troubles.

Thirteen victims have so far been recovered.

The search, conducted by the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims (ICLVR), will centre on a wooded area at Pont-de-l'Arche.

Speaking from her home in Newry, Mr Ruddy's sister, Anne Morgan, said: "Seamus disappeared almost exactly 32 years ago on May 9, 1985. All we can do is what we have been doing over these long years, which is to pray that one day he'll be found.

"Hopefully, that day will come as a result of this search. All we want is to bring Seamus home to Monk's Hill to be buried with our mother and father."

There have been three previous searches for Mr Ruddy, the most recent being in 2008.

Geoff Knupfer, who heads the ICLVR team that has located other paramilitary victims, said: "Everyone we have found to date has been in the area where we were told they were. It is always a question of narrowing that down to a precise location. I really hope we can do that again and find him."

Seamus was prominent in the Irish Republican Socialist Party, the political wing of the INLA, in the early 1980s, but quit and moved to France.

He came into conflict with a number of INLA members there who were attempting to smuggle weapons into Northern Ireland.

It is believed he was badly beaten before being killed.

Despite his clothes being found six months after his death and an admission from the INLA that they murdered him, the whereabouts of Mr Ruddy's remains are unknown.

The Wave Trauma Centre has supported the families of the Disappeared since 1995.

CEO Sandra Peake said the ICLVR would do their utmost to bring the search to a successful conclusion.

She added: "The family knows that they have the thoughts and prayers of the other families of the Disappeared with them, and that is a huge source of strength."

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