Seamus Ludlow

The Murder of Seamus Ludlow in County Louth, May 1976. Towards a public inquiry?

3 July 2002 - The Irish Attorney General has directed the Coroner for County Louth to hold a fresh inquest into the death of Seamus Ludlow.  . . . . Please return for updates and important developments.

 

 

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The Argus ( Dundalk ), 27 May 2005:

 

Date set for second inquest into Seamus Ludlow murder

 

A date has been set for the second inquest into the death of Seamus Ludlow, the Mountpleasant man who was abducted and killed by loyalists almost thirty years ago.

At a preliminary hearing held yesterday (Tuesday) to discuss the scope of the new  inquest, County Coroner Mr. Ronan Maguire set Monday 5th September as the date that the hearing will begin.

He asked the legal representatives for Mr. Ludlow's relatives and for the Garda Commissioner to prepare written submissions outlining their views on the scope of the inquest.

At the outset of the hearing in Dundalk courthouse, Mr. Maguire said that the holding of the second inquest would be the end of a long road for the Ludlow family whom he knew were very anxious that the inquest take place.

He read from the letter which the Attorney General had sent him instructing him to hold the new inquest.

In it, the Attorney General had outlined how the first inquest with a jury had taken place on August 19th 1976 and arising from complaints considered by him by members of the family that they had been denied participation in the original inquest, he held that this had been rendered unsustainable.

Secondary, evidence regarding the death of Mr. Ludlow had not been available and there had been no ballistic evidence regarding the bullets used in the killing.

The Attorney General also stated that the report of the British Irish Rights Watch and the allegations regarding Seamus Ludlow's death appeared to be relevant to the hearing.

Mr Maguire acknowledged that the new inquest will be a "difficult procedure".

He told the family that the while it was an inquiry held in public it was not a public inquiry such as on-going tribunals.

Inquests are held under the 1962 Coroners Act for the purpose of ascertaining the identity of the person had died, when, where and how they had died. While an inquest could look into the surrounding circumstances to some degree it could not adjudicate on civil or criminal liability and can never blame anyone or exonerate anyone."That would be to trespass into the jurisdiction of the courts," sad Mr. Maguire.

Mr. James MacGuill, solicitor for Mr Ludlow's relatives, said they accepted that Mr Maguire had the right to determine the scope of the inquest which they could give valuable assistance to.

What hapened to Mr. Ludlow on May 2nd 1976 was clearly a murder but the investigation into it effectively concluded three weeks later, submitted Mr. Macguill. He said that when the first inquest was held in August 1976, the State did not seek an adjournment to allow investigation to continue.

Mr. MacGuill urged that the inquiry into Mr. Ludlow's death should br broad in its scope and that the original Garda investigation should also be investigated.

He also asked that the information contained in the report by Chief Supt. Ted Murphy into the original investigation be made available so that the family would be able to assist the inquest. He asked for the provision of all the relevant files and forensic reports, saying that to this day the family hadn't seen the ballistic report.

"Given the exceptionally disquieting nature of the failure to investigate this case," he urged that a date for the hearing be fixed, pointing out that some of Mr. Ludlow's relatives were quite elderly and this had been a huge strain on them.

Mr. Kevin Segrave, BL, ofered sympathy to the family of Mr. Ludlow on behalf of the Garda Commissioner.

He said that there would be no difficulty in Mr. Maguire going through the report which had been furnished to him and determining what material was relevant and what should be introduced into the inquest by way of deposition.

He didn't, however, endorse the view that the Coroner should conduct an investigation, saying the Cononer's purpose was not to conduct a public inquiry.

They were, he argued, tied by law as to type and extent of the inquiry which could be held.

Mr. Segrave revealed that the Assistant Garda Commissioner Culligan was happy to make himself available to act as a liaison officer with the family.

He said that the information regarding the ballistic report would be made available to Mr. MacGuill.

Mr. Maguire said that the report carried out by Chief Supt. Murphy into the original Garda investigation had been furnished to him on condition that it remain confidential to him. He believed that his use of it was confined to formulating the depositions which would be heard at the inquest.

He also warned that there would be "a lot of law" in the hearing and he asked the legal representatives of Mr. Ludlow's family and the Garda Commission to furnish written submissions outlining their arguments as to what scope the hearing should have and as to how far the investigation should go into the Garda investigation.

Mr. Maguire also asked that it be determined what witnesses should be called and what witnesses were still alive.

He adjourned the preliminary hearing until June 13th to have these matters clarified and set Monday 5th Septmber as the date for the full inquest, which is likely to take two or three days. 

He warned that while it was incumbent on them to do the best they could for Seamus Ludlow, they couldn't operate illegally for if the inquest went beyond the boundary of what was allowed under the Coroner's Act 1962, the verdict could be struck down by another court. 

 

I Top I

 

The Irish News, 26 April 2005: Inquest into 1976 murder set to begin

The Belfast Telegraph, 27 April 2005: Second inquest into 1976 Dundalk killing

The Argus (Dundalk), 6 May 2005: Seamus Ludlow Inquest

The Sunday Business Post, 8 May 2005: Coroner to re-examine 1976 murder

RTE News, 24 May 2005: Date set for new Ludlow inquest

The Irish Independent, 25 May 2005: New inquest in Ludlow killing case

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Revised: May 26, 2005 .