Body found in France confirmed as Seamus Ruddy

Undated handout file photo issued by the Commissioner for Recovery of Victims Remains of the search operation in a forest in France for the body of Seamus Ruddy, one of Northern Ireland's Disappeared, as his body has been identified.
Undated handout file photo issued by the Commissioner for Recovery of Victims Remains of the search operation in a forest in France for the body of Seamus Ruddy, one of Northern Ireland's Disappeared, as his body has been identified.

The body of "Disappeared" victim of the Northern Ireland Troubles Seamus Ruddy has been found in France.

DNA profiling by French investigators confirmed the remains belonged to the teacher, 32, from Co Down - who was abducted from Paris then murdered and buried by republican paramilitary group the INLA in 1985.

The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains (ICLVR) announced on Saturday that it had discovered a body at Pont-de-l'Arche, near Rouen, in northern France.

It later said an identification had been made.

An ICLVR statement said: "The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains has announced that the French authorities have completed the DNA profiling of the remains recovered from a forest at Pont-de-l'Arche, near Rouen.

"The remains have been confirmed as those of Seamus Ruddy. The remains will be repatriated in due course."

Experts began a fresh search of the wooded area a week ago.

The ICLVR was set up during the peace process by the UK and Irish governments to recover the bodies of those murdered and secretly buried, mainly by the IRA, in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) was a republican splinter group.

There had been a number of previous searches in the same 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 confident the guidance they were acting on this time was accurate.

The latest recovery leaves three of the 16 Disappeared victims still missing.

The remains of Columba McVeigh, Joe Lynskey and Robert Nairac have yet to be found.

Mr Ruddy's sister Anne Morgan told BBC Radio Ulster: "As the family are getting older it is more poignant now we are able to bring him home and at least we will have some sort of closure."

One of her other brothers died last September.

"At this time it becomes a very personal family journey but we are prepared for this and we are all together for this.

"Those 32 years were the longest years that we had to wait for this, the next few weeks won't be as bad."