24 MAY 2017
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Calls for Nairac information on 40th anniversary following Ruddy location

18 May 2017

The family of Seamus Ruddy have called for further information to be given to the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains (ICLVR) to find the remaining three ‘Disappeared’.

After 32 years, Newry man Seamus Ruddy’s remains were found and identified last week in the Point de L’Arche forest near Rouen in northern France.

The 32-year-old teacher had been abducted and shot dead by the INLA on May 9, 1985. 

After several searches over the years, the ICLVR finally found Mr Ruddy’s burial location after new information was provided following an on-site visit by former members of the republican socialist movement. 

A total of 16 people were abducted and killed by republican paramilitaries during the Troubles, including Captain Robert Nairac (28) in south Armagh, whose 40th anniversary occurs this week. 

A brother of Mr Ruddy, Terry Ruddy spoke to the Newry Reporter this week following the DNA identification of his sibling’s remains.

“At the moment we are waiting for the French authorities to release Seamus’ remains to the Coroner in Dublin who will timetable the further release to Newry,” explained Terry.

“Myself, my sister Gertrude, brother Kieran and his wife were in France last week from Wednesday, and Anne was then able to return home to Newry. 

“We had just got back from the search site and we were in the hotel when we received a phone call with the news from the authorities that the DNA had matched up.

“We had all previously given (eight) DNA samples, so the authorities had good bases to build the match. 

“However, we were totally surprised how quickly it had happened, we had thought that it was going to take a number of weeks for the DNA to match up.

“I understand that the French department for justice had prioritised the identification of Seamus’ remains, so that would go some way to explain how quickly it was done,” he added. 

 

Captain Robert Nairac

 

On the night of May 14/15 in 1977 Captain Robert Nairac was abducted from the village of Dromintee in south Armagh by at least seven men, never to be seen again. 

A senior investigator into the Disappeared highlighted that two groups of men were involved in the abduction of Captain Nairac with his remains understood to have been left in a field overnight with the second group removing his remains.

Those involved in the removal are understood to have since passed away. 

The investigation has met “genuine will” to find Captain Nairac, though the “information is lacking”.

This week the Ruddy family supported a call for the location of the British soldier’s remains.

“In terms of information to find the remaining Disappeared, we as a family have always supported further information for all the families.

“We would be anxious that Robert Nairac’s remains would be found so that his family (two sisters) can have closure. 

“We would appeal for information for all the Disappeared including Robert Nairac, Columba McVeigh and Joe Lynskey,” added Mr Ruddy. 

After the location of Seamus Ruddy’s remains last week Newry and Armagh Westminster candidate, Mickey Brady (Sinn Fein) made a plea for further information to find the last of the Disappeared.

“The suffering of the families has gone on too long,” said Mr Brady.

“They have a fundamental right to bury their loved ones and there is an onus on those responsible to help bring this about.

“Sinn Fein has consistently called for anyone with information that could lead to the retrieval of bodies in the outstanding cases to come forward to the ICLVR,” he added.

A spokesperson for the ICLVR told the Reporter that a search for Captain Nairac could not be carried out as the information had not been provided.

At the Monks Hill graveyard Mass in Newry on Sunday, Canon Francis Brown offered prayers for the Ruddy family who will soon have the remains of their brother returned to his final resting place at the cemetery after 32 years.

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