Team searching for "Disappeared" victim finds human remains in France

The remains were discovered in a forest area near Rouen in northern France this morning

Updated 18:08

Search teams attempting to locate the body of “Disappeared” victim Séamus Ruddy have discovered human remains in forest land in France.

The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains (ICLVR) said the discovery was made this morning.

The search – focused on a 500 square metre area - has been underway in the forest area at Pont-de-l'Arche near the city of Rouen in northern France since last week.

Three previous searches in the forest for Mr Ruddy's remains were unsuccessful - with the most recent operation concluding in 2008.

Terrible cruelty

Following the discovery this morning the Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald expressed her hope that the family will finally have the opportunity to provide a dignified burial to their loved one.

“I hope the discovery of remains in France will move us ever closer to finalising the tragic search for all of the Disappeared,” she said.

“For a family to be bereaved but denied the opportunity to bury their loved one is a terrible cruelty that is hard to imagine.

“At this time, I would like to remember all of the families of the Disappeared and the suffering which they have endured. In particular, my thoughts are with those families who still await recovery of the remains of their loved ones.”

She commended the dedication and “ceaseless humanitarian work” of the ICLVR team and offered the government’s continuing support for their work.

“I would also like to thank the French Authorities for their cooperation and great sensitivity in facilitating this search,” she said.

Abduction

Mr Ruddy, a school teacher, was abducted from Paris, murdered and secretly buried by the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) in 1985.

He was 32-years-old at the time.

The operation is being carried out by the ICLVR, which 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.

Four 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 are also unknown.

An ICLVR spokesman told Newstalk it is expected to be some time before the newly discovered remains can be removed from the scene and a post-mortem carried out.

Adams' response 

Gerry Adams welcomed the recovery of human remains in France today. 

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," before adding "Efforts must continue to recover the three remaining bodies."

He finished by saying "I again appeal to anyone with information to come forward."