Why the Ruddy family are true heroes compared to cowards who abducted and killed Seamus
INLA cover-up of 1985 murder was a cruel deception of Newry teacher's relatives
The recent publicity surrounding the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in Portugal several years ago never ceases to touch the public heart, such was the outrage felt by many parents at the time of her criminal abduction and disappearance.
That appalling event represented for all parents their worst horror in losing such a young and defenceless child.
One cannot imagine the unspeakable pain and heartbreak that the McCanns have had to endure for so long.
It is hard to know how any parent could psychologically endure such a living ordeal without a serious mental collapse. The McCanns are to be admired for their determination and courage in the search for their little daughter.
How a person copes with such a disappearance is difficult to imagine.
Unlike a death, there is no finality and the almost futile hope of finding the disappeared person constantly remains alive, even if the passage of time and the absence of real evidence robs the person of any realistic prospect of finding their loved one again, dead or alive.
The love that anyone has for their disappeared relative far surpasses any rational explanation and can lead to the wildest hope for a miracle breakthrough.
Amazingly, at the weekend, a miracle of sorts did happen in the search for Seamus Ruddy - one of the Disappeared - by the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains.
They achieved extraordinary success with the discovery of human remains in a forest near Rouen in France.
It is almost certain that these are Seamus Ruddy's long sought-after remains.
In 2000 and 2008, there had been searches for his body in France, which, sadly, ended in failure.
Seamus Ruddy, a young teacher from Newry, was murdered and secretly buried by the Irish National Liberation Army in 1985.
It was claimed that Mr Ruddy, a teacher in Paris, went willingly with INLA members to a wooded area, where there was an arms dump.
What then happened is not clear, except that he was shot dead and buried in a shallow grave.
His murder and burial remained unacknowledged by the INLA for several years until the fate of the Disappeared became a huge political issue after the Good Friday Agreement.
At that time under extreme public pressure, initiated by the families of those missing, the IRA and other republican paramilitaries agreed to deal with the unexplained and hitherto unacknowledged disappearances of 16 people kidnapped, killed and buried by them during the course of the Troubles from 1972 until 1985.
In order to retrieve the remains of those who had been disappeared, an independent commission was established and funded by both the British and Irish Governments.
The commission recruited expert forensic archaeologists in the search for the missing.
The IRA and INLA, or their representatives, were invited to obtain information or evidence from their members who were involved in the killing and abduction of their various victims.
Limited immunity was granted regarding criminal charges relating to evidence arising out of the discovery of remains.
Unfortunately, this was required to incentivise those involved to bring forward accurate information to locate the graves of those who were murdered.
These were the same paramilitary organisations which constantly sought the protection of the due process of law whenever they were being dealt with by the State.
Clearly, they did not apply human rights standards in dealing with their victims, dispensing capital punishment without regard for their sex, age or mental capacity.
For them the rule of law was exclusive for their own protection, but not for their victims.
It should also be borne in mind that the disappearance of their victims was not some sort of accident or emergency procedure that they were forced into because of time pressures.
Disappearance was, in fact, a well thought-out and deliberate policy of deception by the IRA and INLA in order to hide their evil responsibility for the fate of the Disappeared.
It was a calculated strategy to disclaim direct involvement that might have embarrassed them in the community, or with their victims' families.
The denials of responsibility and of the awful end of their victims was maintained for decades until there was so much political pressure that they could no longer deny responsibility.
This cover-up by republicans was not only a dishonest avoidance of culpability, but a cruel exercise in the systematic deception of the Disappeared's families.
However, the success of the commission in France is wonderful news for the courageous Ruddy family, who have for many painful years doggedly campaigned for their lost brother.
They are true heroes in contrast to the cowards in the brutal INLA that cruelly concealed his slain body from 1985 to the present day.