Seamus Ruddy: Human remains found in France during search for Disappeared victim
Human remains have been found in a forest at Pont-de-l’Arche near Rouen in northern France during the search for the remains of Northern Ireland man Seamus Ruddy.
The discovery was made by the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains team who have been searching the site since Tuesday May 2.
The recovery of the remains will take some time and then the process of post-mortem and of formal identification will begin in conjunction with the French authorities.
Mr Ruddy, from Newry, Co Down, was abducted from Paris, killed and buried by the republican paramilitary group the INLA in 1985. He became one of the "Disappeared" victims of the conflict.
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.
“While it is too early to say I can only hope that they are those of Seamus Ruddy," he said.
"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.
“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."
Party president Gerry Adams has also welcomed the recovery of remains in France.
He said: “I want to welcome the recovery by the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains (ICLVR) of what appears to be the remains of Seamus Ruddy in northern France.
“I want to commend the Commission and all of those involved in today's discovery.
“Efforts must continue to recover the three remaining bodies.”
Mr Ruddy's sister, Anne Morgan, visited the forest at Pont-de-l'Arche outside Rouen in northern France this week.
There have been three previous searches in the forest area for Mr Ruddy, the most recent by the ICLVR in 2008.
The commission's experts, who require those with knowledge of the crimes to come forward and provide information without fear of prosecution, were hopeful the 500 square metre area they are focusing on this time would hold Mr Ruddy's remains.
Who are the Disappeared?
Sixteen people have been acknowledged of Disappeared victims of the Northern Ireland Troubles.
All were abducted, murdered and buried secretly by republican paramilitaries during the conflict.
As tests are carried out to confirm whether remains found in northern France are those of Co Down teacher Seamus Ruddy, here is a list of the other 15 victims.
- Eugene Simons, from Castlewellan, Co Down, disappeared in 1981. His body was recovered in May 1984 (prior to establishment of commission) in a bog in Dundalk, Co Louth.
- Eamonn Molloy, from north Belfast, disappeared in 1975. His body was recovered in May 1999 in a coffin left at the Old Faughart Cemetery outside Dandily, Co Louth.
- John McClory, from west Belfast, disappeared in 1978. His body was recovered in June 1999 in bogland at Colgagh, Inniskeen, Co Monaghan.
- Brian McKinney, from west Belfast, disappeared in 1978. His body was recovered in June 1999 in the same grave as Mr McClory at Inniskeen.
- Jean McConville, a widowed mother of 10 from west Belfast, disappeared in 1972. Her body was found in August 2003 at Shelling Beach, Co Louth by a member of the public walking in the aftermath of a storm that had exposed her remains.
- Danny McIlhone, from west Belfast, disappeared in 1981. His body was recovered in November 2008 in bogland at Blessingtown, Co Wicklow.
- Charlie Armstrong, from south Armagh, disappeared in 1981. His body was recovered in July 2010 in bogland at Colgagh, Iniskeen, Co Monaghan.
- Gerry Evans, from south Armagh, disappeared in 1979. His body was recovered in October 2010 at Carrickrobin, Co Louth.
- Peter Wilson disappeared in 1973. His body was recovered in November 2010 buried at a beach at Waterfoot, Co Antrim.
- Brendan Megraw, from west Belfast, disappeared in 1978. His body was recovered in October 2014 in bogland at Oristown, Co Navan.
- Kevin McKee, from west Belfast, disappeared in 1972. His body was recovered in June 2015 from reclaimed bogland at a farm near Coghalstown, Co Meath.
- Seamus Wright, from west Belfast, disappeared in 1972. His body was recovered in June 2015 in the same grave as Mr McKee at Coghalstown, Co Meath.
Those yet to be found:
- Joe Lynskey, from west Belfast, disappeared in 1972. Searches have been carried out in the same area where Mr McKee and Mr Wright were found.
- Columba McVeigh, from Donaghmore, Co Tyrone, disappeared in 1975. Searches have been conducted at Emyvale Forest, Co Monaghan.
- British Army Captain Robert Nairac disappeared in 1977 from a south Armagh pub.