Three of the 16 Disappeared victims have yet to be found
The remains of ‘Disappeared’ victim Seamus Ruddy are being returned to Ireland today, more than 32 years after he was murdered and secretly buried in France.
Mr Ruddy’s body was discovered by the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains (ICLVR) in France in early May.
Mr Ruddy was a 33-year-old English teacher from Newry who lived in Paris when he disappeared in May 1985.
The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) admitted responsibility for his abduction and murder in December 1995.
Mr Ruddy’s body was discovered in a forest area at Pont-de-l'Arche near the city of Rouen in northern France.
Information that his remains were in the area emerged in 1999, however three previous searches had been unsuccessful - with the most recent operation concluding in 2008.
The ICLVR was set up jointly by the Irish and British governments during the peace process to recover the bodies of the “Disappeared” – those murdered and secretly buried during the conflict in the 1970s and 1980s.
Speaking to Q Radio News, ICLVR lead investigator Geoff Knupfer said three out of the 16 people the commission was tasked to recover have yet to be found.
Despite extensive and painstaking searches, the whereabouts of Columba McVeigh, Joe Lynskey and Robert Nairac remain unknown.
“We can assure anybody who has information that anything they provide will only be used to recover and repatriate the victims,” he said.
“It can’t be used in a court of law and we can’t pass that on to any other individual or agency.”
He said the repatriation of Mr Ruddy’s remains is a “major development” adding that is has been a “terribly difficult time” for his family.
“This will be a very emotional time for them I’m sure and they have asked that they have privacy at the repatriation this evening,” he said.
“The body will be taken to the Dublin City Mortuary and in due course the coroner will release the body back to the family for burial.”
Mr Ruddy’s funeral will reportedly take place in Newry on Saturday, June 17th.
The Provisional IRA admitted responsibility for the deaths of 13 of the 16 Disappeared – while the INLA claimed responsibility for one.
No group has admitted involvement in the remaining two cases.
The ICLVR operates a freephone number - 00800-5558-5500 - and a PO Box address at PO Box 10827, Dublin 2, Ireland to receive information in confidence.