25 May 2006

New effort to locate murdered INLA man

Daily Ireland

By Connla Young

Fresh efforts are being made to locate the remains of a former INLA man murdered in France in 1985, Daily Ireland has learned.
Newry man Seamus Ruddy was murdered by three members of the INLA in 1985 and his body was buried in a shallow grave in a wooded area near Rouen, 50 miles north of Paris.
The former republican gunrunner was shot after agreeing to meet with three senior members of the INLA outside Paris in May 1985. It is believed he was killed after refusing to help procure arms for the organisation.
His body was originally buried on the site of an INLA arms dump in the forest and later removed to another location close by.
Mr Ruddy, who lived in France and worked as an English teacher for several years before his death, had severed his links with the INLA which was in the grip of a bitter power struggle at the time of his murder.
Two of the men involved in the Newry man’s death, John O’Reilly and Peter Stewart, have since died. Daily Ireland understands that a third man, who has intimate knowledge of Mr Ruddy’s murder, recently provided detailed information about the location of the body directly to Commission for the Disappeared investigators at a meeting in Belfast.
It is understood that an international expert recruited by the Irish and British governments to help locate the remains of people who disappeared during the Troubles was present at the meeting. The international expert is attached to the Commission for the Disappeared, set up by the Irish and British governments to help find the bodies of people who disappeared during the troubles, and enjoys complete immunity.
The immunity awarded to those involved in the commission’s work does not extend to France meaning those with information about Mr Ruddy’s murder could be pursued by the French judiciary. This is understood to be a significant factor in delaying the new moves to recover the Newry man’s remains.
Eamon Mulligan from the Commission for the Disappeared said: “The legislation governing the operation of the commission doesn’t provide immunity on French soil. The disadvantage in this particular case in relation to other cases we have, is that we can walk the ground with people in Ireland, but not in France.”

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