By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — Two senior gardai have traveled to France as part of a new effort to find the body of a Northern Ireland man who was murdered by the Irish National Liberation Army and is believed to have been buried near Rouen.
Seamus Ruddy, 33, a teacher from Newry, went to live in France in 1983 after internal feuding in the INLA and its political wing, the Irish Republican Socialist Party.
It is believed members of an INLA faction abducted him from his Paris apartment in May 1985 and questioned him about arms smuggling.
They are then believed to have shot him three times in the back of the head and buried him close to an INLA arms dump in a forested area near Rouen.
When searches began for secretly buried murder victims — the so-called "Disappeared" – it was thought that Ruddy’s body might be one of the first to be found.
Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter
The INLA, a maverick group that suffered from bloody internecine differences, broke away from the Provisional IRA in the mid-1970s after a row about a cease-fire.
It called its own "complete cease-fire" in August 1998, ending a 23-year campaign of violence.
Contacts about where Ruddy was buried began in late 1998 between gardai and senior members of the IRSP.
Last year, photographs, videos and maps of the area near Rouen were handed over to the Irish government.
A 20-yard wide site in a forest was identified but searches found nothing.
A Garda spokesman said new information about Ruddy’s burial site has been provided through intermediaries to the Anglo-Irish commission set up to find the remains of the Disappeared.
"The two officers are bringing this information to the French authorities," the spokesman said.
In May, gardai ended what they said was a final attempt to find the remains of six bodies of IRA murder victims in four sites throughout the Republic. Searches last year had resulted in the recovery of three bodies.