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Seamus Ludlow was a
bachelor who lived at Thistlecross, Mountpleasant,
Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland, just a short distance
south of the border and the Six Counties. Educated
at the nearby old Faughart National
School, Seamus had lived close to his family's roots until his murder in
The Ludlow family commemorated the 25th
anniversary of this murder on 29th April 2001.
Ludlow was born 4 December 1929 and he was murdered on 2 May 1976.
lived at his life-long home
with his elderly mother Mrs Annie Ludlow, and his married
sister Mrs Nan Sharkey and her family. Seamus worked with his
brother-in-law Tommy Fox (now deceased) as a forestry
worker in the vicinity of his home.
Seamus Ludlow was
murdered near his home in County Louth by Loyalists from
the Six Counties in May 1976. His Loyalist killers have
never been brought to justice, though they were identified by the RUC in
1977, and his family want to
know why this is so.
Ludlow met his death on the night of 1st. and 2nd. May
1976. After spending the evening in various Dundalk
public houses, Seamus left the Lisdoo Arms, on the N1 road
just north of Dundalk, around 11.30 pm. He was last seen
standing outside Smith's Garage nearby, thumbing a lift
for the three mile distance to his home, at Thistle
Cross, as he had done on many occasions before. The
memorial, shown at the top of this page, marks the spot
where Seamus Ludlow's body was found on Sunday 2nd. May
body was found by a tourist from the North of Ireland who was
walking a dog along this quiet country road just south of
the border. Soon afterwards, Kevin and Paddy Ludlow, the victim's
two brothers (the latter now deceased), who were
searching for their missing brother, came upon a Gardai
road block on the Bog Road. To their horror they were
informed that a body had been found. It was lying on top
of a ditch. Soon after, Kevin Ludlow formally
identified the body as that of his brother.
The Sunday World (Southern edition), 9 May 1976:
in a lovers' lane...Who
killed Santa Claus Gardai
call us in to help
Sunday World (Southern edition), 9 May 1976
(Continued): The spot where Santa Claus died
Ludlow family has produced another web site The Seamus
Ludlow Truth and Justice Campaign. This web site
has detailed accounts of Seamus Ludlow's family
background, the last day of his life, and the Ludlow
family's unsavoury treatment by the Gardai in the
aftermath of the murder.
There are press reports of
Seamus Ludlow's murder from the Sunday Press and a Special
Report from the local Argus newspaper in
1985. There are accounts of recent revelations in the
press about the arrest of four Loyalist suspects from
County Down in February 1998 and the Irish Victims
Commission's report of 1999.
There is a copy of a Profile on Seamus
Ludlow's death, compiled by a member of the family. There
is also a copy of the text of an independent report
produced by the respected human rights body British Irish
RIGHTS WATCH (BIRW), London. These latter two documents
can also be found on this web site (see the menu to the left of this
page) and on its new domain name
Reports of recent developments in the Ludlow family's campaign can be
followed on this site's Chronology and Latest
Reports pages. Visitors can have information delivered straight to
their computer by e-mail autoresponder, by filling in the form at the
bottom of this site's home page.
information about recent developments can be found on the
web sites of the Pat Finucane
Centre and BIRW. A new
site has recently been launched by Relatives for Justice,
giving information about Seamus Ludlow's murder and many other cases of
state killings. The Ludlow family highly recommends these three
organizations and appreciates the terrific work that they have done to
help our cause.
An extensive collection of press
and media reports of Seamus Ludlow's murder and the Ludlow family
campaign has recently been added to this site. Just click on Press
extensive list of sites giving coverage to this campaign can be found on
this site's Links page.
Read the Barron Report: Download
the Barron Report from the Oireachtas website (pdf file)
also: The Sunday Tribune, 8 March 1998: Ed Moloney The
killing of Seamus Ludlow: Northern Editor reports on how the RUC covered
up the part played by members of the security forces in a loyalist gang
murder in County Louth in 1976.
The Sunday Tribune, 15 March 1998:
raised over Ludlow Murder.
first part of this question is easier to answer than the
second part. Despite false claims spread by the Gardai in
southern Ireland and by the British Army in the Six
Counties, to the effect that Seamus Ludlow was an
informer who had been murdered by the IRA, forces of a
different hue were responsible. The Ludlow family
emphatically maintain that Seamus Ludlow was no informer.
He was not killed by the IRA.
revelations of an RUC and Gardai cover-up dating from the
1970s show how in fact it was known all along that Seamus
Ludlow was the victim of a Loyalist/British Army
murder gang. It is now known that the RUC in Belfast received
intelligence information on the killers as early as 1977 and that they handed a file on the killing to the Gardai in 1979. This
information was confirmed at a meeting with the Police
Ombudsman for Northern Ireland.
The names off the alleged killers have recently been
published by a Dublin government report compiled by Mr Justice Henry
Baron, and they have been named in many newspapers.
The RUC file from 1979 contained the names of at least three of the suspects who
were arrested by the RUC nearly 20 years later, in
February 1998. It is not known why the RUC held onto this
information for eighteen months before passing it to the Gardai or
indeed if the RUC took any action against the killers during that time.
also emerged, from statements made by one of the
suspects, Paul Hosking, than a 19-year-old member of the
Ulster Defence Association (UDA), that he was questioned
about the murder by the RUC Special Branch , some eleven
years later in 1987, and that he was told to say no more
about Seamus Ludlow because it was "political".
Paul Hosking believed that the Special Branch officer, whom he
has named, already knew the full story behind Seamus
Ludlow's murder. Could this be because one of the three
Red Hand Command/UDR killers who had accompanied Hosking
to Dundalk was an agent for the Special Branch or the
British Army and that he had told the authorities very
soon after the killing about the gang's involvement in
Seamus Ludlow was killed remains a mystery. Perhaps we
should be asking what the four Loyalist suspects,
including two members of the British Army's Ulster
Defence Regiment (UDR), from far off Comber and
Newtownards in north Down, were really doing in Dundalk
on the night in question.
they engaged in a drinking spree as it has been suggested
by the witness Paul Hosking, or were they on a mission of murder? Seamus Ludlow was totally unknown to them. Could
it be that he was just another Catholic ripe for killing
by a sectarian death squad or was he a victim of mistaken
identity, killed instead of another intended victim, who
may have been a republican? There have been persistent
rumours that Seamus Ludlow bore a strong resemblance to
one man in particular who may have been on a death list.
Ludlow family has received information that the gang came to Dundalk to
murder another named individual, that they somehow were unable to find
their target, and that they fell upon the unfortunate Seamus Ludlow as
they drove north out of Dundalk. If this account is correct, then Seamus
Ludlow was a random victim of sectarian killers. He was not a victim of
mistaken identity, nor was he in any way their intended target. He just
became a target of opportunity for crazed loyalist killers who wanted to
make their mark on Dundalk!
Recently, the murder of Seamus Ludlow was the
subject of a private judicial inquiry in Dublin under Mr Justice
Henry Barron and
a fresh inquest which was held September
The Barron Report was published
3 November 2005. The report publicly names the four arrested suspects
who were questioned by the RUC in 1998.
the question that has yet to be answered, hopefully at a
public inquiry. The Ludlow family rightfully feel that
those (whoever they are) who participated in this
shameful neglect of duty, and perverted justice, must be
forced to answer for their abuse. Gardai officers were
paid and sworn to uphold the law, solve or prevent crime,
and to protect members of the public from crime.
Were they trying to preserve the reputation of the controversial
Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR), because its members were involved in the
murder of Seamus Ludlow? The UDR was a loyalist militia within the
British Army which had long been feared and rejected by nationalists as
a disreputable force whose members were often linked to loyalist murder
gangs. Or were they attempting to conceal possible evidence of even
deeper collusion, sanctioned from a high level in the Gardai or even the
government, with the British Army's activities on both sides of the
in the case of Seamus Ludlow's murder, and in every other
case where Loyalists committed murder in the Irish state
- in Dundalk, Castleblaney, Dublin, Monaghan, Buncrana
and Sallins - with perhaps fifty innocent victims - the
Gardai have manifestly failed in that duty. Not one of
the crimes has been solved. The Gardai have arrested
nobody. They have sought the extradition of nobody.
case of Seamus Ludlow it is clear that there was a
cover-up. Members of the Gardai have candidly admitted
this to several members of the Ludlow family. A secret
file containing the names of at least three suspects had
been gathering dust for some twenty years, even while
Gardai in Dundalk were constantly assuring members of the
Ludlow family that there was no other file, and there
were no other suspects - apart from the IRA or members of
the Ludlow family.
recently been reported that this RUC file had been passed
to several high-ranking Gardai officers - including an
Assistant Commissioner - yet no action was taken. Several
officers, and others in retirement and still living,
should have interesting answers to give when, or if, they
are forced to testify.
been suggested that the cover-up was inspired by a need
to protect one of the Loyalist killers who may have been
an agent working within the death squad. If true, this
agent, who may have been the actual killer, may well have
reported back to his RUC Special Branch, British Army or
MI5 handlers immediately. He may have given them a
detailed report about the killing of Seam Ludlow. He may
have used a British Army weapon.
Gardai's handling of Seamus Ludlow's inquest on 19th
August 1976 also leads to suspicions of a cover-up. No
members of the Ludlow family were present, simply because
no one within the family was given sufficient advance
notice. Clearly, Ludlow family members were not wanted
there. The inquest reports in the local press and the
state pathologist's report say nothing about the calibre
of weapon used to kill Seamus Ludlow. This neglect fuels
suspicions that a British Army/UDR weapon was used. Such
a weapon would have identified the killers immediately.
Ludlow family demands a public inquiry to uncover the
answers to all of the important questions raised about
the official cover-up of the murder of Seamus Ludlow.
These questions have been raised in previous
communications between the Ludlow family and its legal
representative and the authorities in Dublin and Belfast.
The absolute necessity for the holding of a public
inquiry has been argued vigorously. As this page was in
construction, the Ludlow family was still waiting for an
official response from the Irish Minister for Justice. There were
indications that the Minister wanted the Ludlow family to agree to his
extending the remit of the ongoing private Hamilton
(now the Barron) Inquiry into the Dublin, Monaghan and Dundalk bombings to include an
investigation of Seamus Ludlow's murder.
This idea was rejected by the Ludlow family who remained
unswerving in their demand for a public inquiry, possibly on lines
similar to the British Saville Inquiry into the Bloody Sunday killings
by the British Army in Derry on 30 January 1972. The Ludlow family
maintained that there can be no obstacles left in the way of a public
inquiry into the Seamus Ludlow murder, given that the Northern Ireland
Director of Public Prosecutions has failed to bring charges against any
of the four Loyalist suspects.
Ultimately, the Ludlow family did accept the Barron
Inquiry, but only after it was made clear that the government was going
to ahead with it anyway, regardless of the Ludlow family. The family
still maintained their demand for a public inquiry. Now, that the Barron
Report has finally been published, with many
questions remaining unanswered, the demand for a public inquiry has
See also: The
Belfast Telegraph, 8 November 2005:
group questions report into loyalist killing
The Irish Times, 8 November 2005: Ludlow
family seeks sworn public inquiry
family's search for truth and justice is led by Kevin Ludlow, the only
surviving brother of Seamus Ludlow. Kevin Ludlow has
maintained close contacts with the Gardai ever since his
brother was murdered in May 1976.
Ludlow formally identified the body of his dead brother
at the murder scene on Sunday 2 May 1976, yet when the
inquest was held on 19 August 1976, neither he nor any
other members of the Ludlow family or their legal
representative was present to witness the proceedings or
ask questions. The family was excluded from the inquest,
so they were reduced to reading what little emerged in
the local press.
Kevin Ludlow and his family maintain their demands for a fully public
inquiry into the murder of his brother Seamus and the failure of the
Gardai and the RUC, who, despite their knowing of the real killers'
identities since 1979, if not before, did absolutely nothing to bring
these evil men to justice or to restore Seamus Ludlow's good name which
had been smeared by these same authorities.
Kevin Ludlow rejects the ongoing private Hamilton (Barron) Inquiry,
established by the Dublin government, to look at the Dublin, Monaghan
and Dundalk bombings. The Irish authorities seem determined to push
ahead with extending the remit of this private inquiry, so that it will
also examine, behind closed doors, the murder of Seamus Ludlow. The
Ludlow family has never accepted Hamilton because it falls far short of
the open and public inquiry that they demand. The sudden resignation on
health grounds of Mr. Justice Hamilton, the sole member of the private
"Commission of Inquiry", and his replacement by Judge Henry
Barron, in October 2000, did nothing to persuade the Ludlow family to
accept this unsatisfactory process.
many questions arise from that behind-closed-doors inquest of 19 August
1976: the calibre and origins of the murder weapon and
ammunition used in the killing come immediately to mind.
The Gardai have never given Kevin Ludlow any satisfactory
reasons for his and his family's exclusion from the
inquest into their loved-one's murder. In an important recent
development the Irish Attorney General has directed the coroner for
County Louth to hold a fresh inquest into the death of Seamus Ludlow.
several occasions Kevin Ludlow was deliberately misled. He was told
that a member of his own family was involved in his late
brother's murder! He was even given the name of a
particular relative. With his nephew Jimmy Sharkey, he
has worked tirelessly to uncover the full truth behind
his brother's murder and the reasons for the Gardai's
failure to solve the crime.
Ludlow family has established an Appeal Fund (see below)
to help with securing the necessary funds for a campaign
which will continue to drain available resources for some
time to come. Any donations, to the Appeal's account at
the Bank of Ireland, Dundalk, of
whatever size, will be deeply appreciated.
Ludlow family continues to enjoy the active support of
respected human rights groups like British Irish
Rights Watch , London; the
Pat Finucane Centre (PFC), Derry; Relatives for Justice,
Belfast; and the
for Civil Liberties, Dublin. BIRW has
produced an independent report on Seamus
Ludlow's death and its esteemed Director Jane Winter has
twice flown to Ireland to accompany members of the Ludlow
family on important occasions - the most recent being a
meeting with the Irish Minister for Justice. Jane Winter has
also kindly contributed to this web site a special message
of support for the Ludlow family.
Finucane Centre, Derry, and Relatives for Justice,
Belfast, have been particularly supportive, having
invited the family to their recent conferences for
relatives of victims of state violence. PFC has featured
the Seamus Ludlow case on its own website, including much
of the recent output of journalist Ed Moloney for the Sunday
Tribune newspaper. The Pat Finucane Centre
published this site on its website and on its e-mail
newsletter. Through PFC's efforts, this site has gained a
considerable hit rate in a very short time. Relatives for
Justice kindly invited the Ludlow family to send a
representative to join their deputation for a meeting
with Taoiseach Mr. Bertie Ahern in Dublin.
The Ludlow family is also delighted to have the support of Amnesty
International and the Celtic
League. Both organizations have spoken out
in support of the family's demands for a public inquiry. The Celtic
League has added its voice in support
of the Ludlow family following the announcement, in July 2002, by the
Irish Attorney General, of a new inquest
into the death of Seamus Ludlow.
Newry and Mourne District Council and Louth County
Council have supported
the Ludlow family's demand for a public inquiry into the
death of Seamus Ludlow. Members of the Ludlow family have addressed both
elected bodies and they were accorded with a sympathetic hearing by all
Ludlow family is also supported by a number of Irish TDs
and senators and British MPs.
the launch of this second Ludlow family website, it has
been obvious that the Ludlow family's campaign for truth
and justice has many good friends at home and abroad.
This is obvious from a visit to the site's new Bravenet guestmap Guest
Book. Visitors can also view previous kind messages posted by
supporters on our original
of the Irish
Organisations United in Pennsylvania
and Massachussetts are now
actively campaigning on the Ludlow family's behalf. The
Ludlow family's campaign is also supported by members of Friends of Irish
Freedom in the United
States. The campaign has also secured support from members of the
Connolly Association, the South
Armagh Farmers and Residents Committee and the James
Connolly Republican Flute Band, Glasgow,
all, the Ludlow family is pleased to report that their
concerns and their demands for truth and justice are
widely supported in their local community on both sides
of the border.
Invaluable support has also been offered by Karl Winn, a good friend
in the web business who has assisted beyond all expectations in the
production of a special domain
name seamusludlow.com edition of this site. The Ludlow family has accepted with
gratitude the professional advice and assistance that Karl has kindly
offered. Karl has donated free of charge web space and other
services, which have been an important asset to this Ludlow family
The Ludlow family is pleased to report strong and helpful links with
the families of the late Jack Rooney and Hugh Watters, who were murdered
by a no warning Loyalist car bomb explosion outside Kay's Tavern public
house, Crowe Street, Dundalk, on 19 December 1975. The Ludlow family
have assisted Dundalk
bombing campaign by setting up another site on their behalf.
Supporters are requested to visit that site and demonstrate support by
leaving a message on the guestbook.
How can the Ludlow Family be contacted?
The Ludlow Family can be
contacted at any one of five e-mail addresses, for which
there are links at the bottom of this and all other pages in this site.
The Ludlow Family particularly welcomes messages of support for their
ongoing campaign for a public inquiry in Dublin.
Messages may be left on
the site's Guest
Book. The Ludlow family appreciates the help and
support already offered by many good people. Wherever possible, such
messages are answered personally by a member of the Ludlow family.
Visitors are requested to leave a valid e-mail address.
Supporters may also use a
special e-mail form for this
purpose. A Fax number is also provided. Supporters are also invited to join our mailing
list or tell their friends
about this site and our campaign by using the special forms provided.
is the latest information and developments in
In July 2002 the Irish
Attorney General ordered the Louth County Coroner to conduct a fresh
inquest into the death of Seamus Ludlow. This followed a legal
submission from the Ludlow family's lawyer.
inquest came one step closer in March 2003 when the Louth County Coroner
Mr Ronan Maguire released to the Ludlow family a copy of the original
Garda investigation report. This report had been withheld from the
Ludlow family throughout the previous 27 years of the search for truth.
Unfortunately, the file, consisting of witness statements from family
members, friends of the late Seamus Ludlow, people who saw him during
his last hours, as well as garda witnesses has not been very helpful.
The file is incomplete, much of it is barely legible and there are no signs of the vital
ballistics and forensics reports.
fact, the inquest would face many delays before a date was set
for the autumn of 2005.
continued to appear obstructive in delaying the handing over of vital files
requested by the coroner Ronan Maguire. The files, particularly the above
mentioned gardai's internal Murphy files from 1998, were only produced when the
coroner threatened to report this obstruction to the Attorney General. Still,
there were conditions attached: the files were marked confidential and were not
to be seen by the Ludlow family or their lawyers. It was agreed that the coroner
could produce sections of the files as written submissions to the inquest.
fresh inquest began as planned on the morning of 5 September
2005 and was concluded on the evening of the 6 September 2005. The
inquest attracted considerable interest from press and
Disappointingly, the Murphy files remained
hidden from the inquest and important information long demanded by the Ludlow
family remains out of sight. The shroud secrecy and cover-up still remains
hanging over the Ludlow family's search for truth.
jury of 6 men and four women at Dundalk courthouse unanimously returned a verdict
that Seamus Ludlow's death was an Unlawful Killing, caused by
gunshot wounds, with the medical cause of death being shock
number of important points also emerged from the inquest:
Retired Dt Supt. John Courtney, who
received a file naming four loyalist suspects, from the RUC
in Belfast in
February 1979, stated that he was made aware of the four
strong suspects in 1979 but was not given permission from
Garda headquarters to pursue the investigation further.
This was the first public admission that the murder
investigation had been blocked by the Garda authorities in
The same four loyalist suspects were questioned
by the RUC for the one and only time in
1998 and two of the men gave similar accounts of their
involvement in the crime. Again, this was a first public admission.
No Garda was recorded as being given
responsibility for contacting the Ludlow family for the
first inquest in August 1976.
Seamus Ludlow was not murdered by the IRA
nor was he a member of the IRA. The suspicion of IRA
involvement had been eliminated from the garda murder
investigation within three months of the murder, though
the Ludlow family were never informed. Indeed, family
members were still being told this lie nearly twenty years
No trace of the victim's clothing or of
two of the fatal bullets can be found.
Justice Barron , who was conducting a
private inquiry into the Seamus Ludlow murder for the Dublin government,
wrote a letter to the Ludlow
family's lawyer on 27 February 2003. The letter
referred to matters that were raised at the previous meetings the family had with Mr Justice
Barron, as well as statements made to him by unidentified witnesses.
Points raised by Mr Justice Barron included:
has been said that although there were several possibilities considered as
to how Seamus Ludlow came to his death, there was no evidence to support any
inquiry has seen
intelligence passed to the security section of an garda Siochana suggesting
that Seamus Ludlow was murdered because he was an informer. Gardai to whom
the Inquiry has spoken do not accept this.
has been suggested that there were murders of persons in the Dundalk area
who had accidentally come across information or had spoken a word out of
present the progress of the Inquiry has been slowed owing to the absence of
any information being received from outside the jurisdiction.
above points indicate that there were indeed elements within the Gardai who
helped spread lies about Seamus Ludlow being an informer who was murdered by the
IRA - claims that were privately made to members of the Ludlow family by
individual gardai on several occasions. Sometimes this lie was amended to a
claim that Seamus Ludlow was murdered by the IRA perhaps because he saw
something while he was engaged in his work at Ravensdale Forest. Yet another lie
that has been bandied about for a number of years.
final statement reveals the continued indifference to truth and justice in this
sad affair that exists within the British PSNI police force and the British Army
in the Six Counties, who are giving no assistance to Mr Justice Barron.
PSNI (then the RUC) had a file on the known killers of Seamus Ludlow since at
least 1977, and it is clear that they have important evidence that could be of
help to Mr Justice Barron. Since at least two of Seamus Ludlow's killers were
members of the British Army's Ulster Defence Regiment it is clear that the
British army could also be helpful if they were so inclined.
The private Barron Report was
finally published on 3 November 2005, more than
thirteen months after it was completed and passed to the government.
SEAMUS LUDLOW APPEAL FUND
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