Human remains found in a French forest have been identified as those of Seamus Ruddy, one of the "disappeared" of Northern Ireland's conflict who was murdered in 1985, a panel said Wednesday.
"We were looking for Seamus Ruddy, and we found him," a spokesman for the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims Remains (ICLVR), Dennis Godfrey, told AFP.
He said French authorities used a familial DNA sample to match Ruddy to remains found in the Bord forest south of Rouen, in the northern region of Normandy, on Saturday.
They were abducted and killed by republican paramilitaries during the so-called Troubles, three decades of violence over British control of the province that left around 3,500 dead.
Ruddy's murder was claimed in 1995 by the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA), a republican paramilitary group. The Irish Republican Army claimed a further 13 murders of those who "disappeared".
Media reports suggest he was a former member of the INLA's political wing, and was killed in a dispute over arms smuggling.
The ICLVR, a panel set up under the 1998 Northern Ireland peace agreement, received information in 1999 that his body was buried in Rouen, but several previous searches had failed to locate his remains.
'Some sort of closure'
The discovery was made on May 6 under an investigation led by Britain and Ireland. Godfrey lamented that the news was "not what people want to hear," even if it might allow the victims' relatives to move on.
Ruddy's sister, Anne Morgan, who campaigned for years to find his body, welcomed the news.
"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," she told BBC radio.
"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."
French police sources indicated Ruddy had been identified through dental DNA with teeth among some 60 bone fragments unearthed.
They were matched to several samples of relatives' DNA, police colonel Emmanuel Valot told AFP, permitting identification.
The remains will be handed over to the Irish authorities once French judicial procedures have run their course, Valot said.
The police colonel confirmed that no cause of death was being sought, citing the terms of the Northern Irish process of reconciliation.
The discovery leaves three of the "disappeared" still missing -- Columba McVeigh, Joe Lynskey and Robert Nairac.
Date created : 2017-05-11