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




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The Belfast Telegraph, 4 November 2005:

Relatives of man killed by loyalists urge police action probe

By Michael McHugh

04 November 2005

Relatives of loyalist murder victim Seamus Ludlow have renewed calls for a public inquiry into alleged north/south police collusion after an Irish parliamentary committee published the names of four men who were suspected of the murder.

The Barron Report into the May 1976 murder of the 47-year-old Dundalk forestry worker found he had been the victim of a "random sectarian killing" and identified for the first time, under parliamentary privilege, the men who the RUC had linked with the crime.

The report named four men - James Fitzsimmons, William Richard Long, Samuel Carroll and Paul Hosking - in connection with the murder.

In 1979 the DPP in Northern Ireland decided not to prosecute them because of lack of evidence and this week's dossier said it accepted that decision.

Mr Ludlow's nephew, Jimmy Sharkey, has been campaigning for an independent public inquiry into the killing and said the report strengthened his concern about the police investigation.

"This has confirmed what the family has believed for the past 30 years. I believe it strengthens our case for an independent public inquiry," he said.

"There are major questions to be answered about the Garda investigation and the role of senior officers.

"It will be interesting to see what the Justice Committee probe into it throws up."

The Irish parliament committee will looking into the matter in the new year.

Questions to be dealt with include the loss by police of some of Mr Ludlow's clothing as well as the failure by anti-terrorist chiefs at Garda headquarters to authorise the interview of four suspects despite a tip-off from the RUC.

Irish Justice Henry Barron's report said it had no clear findings on collusion between police forces on both sides of the border.

"The facts indicate that Seamus Ludlow was picked up by a car near the bridge on the Dundalk to Newry road; that this car was driven by James Fitzsimmons and contained three other passengers ? Richard Long, Samuel Carroll and Paul Hosking," the report said.

"Information obtained by the RUC from Hosking suggested that it was Carroll who shot Seamus Ludlow."

"It would seem to have been a random, sectarian killing of a blameless Catholic civilian by loyalist extremists," it said.

As a report published by a Dail committee, the Barron inquiry carries full legal privilege.