June 2000 -
by Anne-Marie Eaton for the Dundalk Democrat, Jimmy Sharkey
said that the family welcomed the Taoiseach taking a stance and
calling for a public inquiry into the death of Robert Hamill during
a RTE Morning Ireland radio broadcast earlier this month.
he said, "We have never met with the Taoiseach to discuss
Seamus' murder". It was pointed out briefly that Jimmy had
a very short meeting with the Taoiseach "but as yet family
representatives have only met with Minister for Justice, Equality
and Law Reform, John O'Donoghue, which Jimmy states was not satisfactory".
Ludlow family, through their solicitor, have once again requested
a meeting with the Taoiseach and are awaiting a reply."
Dundalk Democrat also reported on the soon to-be-published Unfinished
Business, a book written by University of Ulster academic Bill
Bill Rolston has written a full chapter on the killing including
interviews with Michael Donegan and Jimmy Sharkey, in his
forthcoming book "Unfinished Business: State Killings and the
Quest for Truth".
book focuses on family members telling their stories of how they
dealt with loved ones death and their experiences over the years
in demanding justice. It also demonstrates how, because of
necessity, ordinary people have become champions of human
also report of the refusal of a major Irish book stockist and
to stock this important book.
26 June 2000 - The Belfast daily Irish
News newspaper featured across two pages an excerpt of the
soon-to-be-published book Unfinished Business: State Killings and
the Quest for Truth, by leading academic Bill Rolston.
This new book focuses on 23 cases of
state killings associated with the conflict in the North of Ireland.
The stories, including that of Seamus Ludlow, are told mostly by
relatives who have campaigned over the killings.
In this Irish News feature
(headlined "Robert's worth too much to let this go."), Diane Hamill tells the moving story of the sectarian mob murder of
her brother Robert, in Portadown, three years ago, in plain sight of
the RUC, and of her family's campaign for justice which continues to
(See links to the Robert Hamill
campaign on the Ludlow family's Links
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4 July 2000 - The office of the Chief Constable,
Royal Ulster Constabulary, replied to a letter
written by campaign supporter Jim J.
Pennsylvania, United States. While this reply does retread old
ground and gives no new information regarding the RUC's
investigation of the murder of Seamus Ludlow it does make a curious
reference it not being "force policy to comment on matters
pertaining to "Agents"." Here is the full text of
the RUC's reply.
Dear Mr. Kane,
Murder of Seamus Ludlow
I refer to your correspondence of 5 May 2000
regarding the above.
I am advised that information relative to the
murder of Mr. Ludlow was passed by the Royal Ulster Constabulary
to An Garda Siochana in 1979.
I am further advised after a request from the
Garda in 1998 the RUC arrested and interviewed four persons in
relation to the murder. All four persons were released pending a
report to the Director of Public Prosecutions. On 15 October 1999
the DPP directed "No Prosecution".
I can inform you it is not force policy to
comment on matters pertaining to "Agents". Police
reports to the DPP are confidential documents as are
Finally, the question of whether or not a public
inquiry should be held is not for the RUC to determine.
I trust this is of assistance.
for Chief Constable
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18 July 2000 - In
a letter to the Irish Times, Councillor Dessie Ellis (Sinn
Fein), responding to criticism of his party by Dr. Garret
Fitzgerald, formerly Taoiseach and leader of Fine Gael, in his
column of 8 July:
Mr. Ellis rebuked Dr. Fitzgerald for
remaining silent about "the violence - including killing
children with plastic bullets, shoot-to-kill operations and
collusion with loyalist death-squads - of British forces in the
". . . His governments failed
to properly investigate the Dublin/Monaghan bombings (the worst
atrocity of the Troubles) and the sinister killing of Seamus
Ludlow in Dundalk. Not only did he remain silent, but his
governments spent vast sums of Irish taxpayers' money in
collaborating with these forces. . .".
Councillor Ellis makes a fair point. Certainly, Fine Gael was in
government at the time of Seamus Ludlow's murder by a Red Hand
Commando and Ulster Defence Regiment murder gang in May 1976 - and
also in government on several occasions since than too, but other
parties have also held power in Dublin and they also failed "to
properly investigate" the atrocious crimes that were committed
in the Irish State by pro-British forces.
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21 July 2000 - Jane Winter, Director
of British Irish Rights Watch, London, wrote again to Taoiseach
Bertie Ahern, urging him to hold a public inquiry into the murder of
Seamus Ludlow. She wrote:
Although it has been announced that
this dreadful murder will be examined by Mr. Justice Hamilton as
part of his Commission of inquiry, you will be aware that this
decision was taken without consultation with the relatives of Seamus
Ludlow. They have always called for a public inquiry, and are not
satisfied with a Commission of inquiry, which will not enable them
or their lawyers to have direct access to primary evidence which has
been denied them for many years. There is absolutely no doubt
in my mind that they have been the victims of a cover-up, and in
refusing them the public inquiry they seek the Irish Government only
fuels public perception that cover-up took place on both sides of
The Irish Government has been staunch in its support for the Bloody
Sunday relatives, the Finucane family and the Hamill family, all of
whom I know are very grateful for you support for public inquiries
in their cases. Seamus Ludlow's relatives can only look on and
wonder why the same support is not forthcoming for them. I feel
bound to mention that when i attended a meeting between them and the
Minister for Justice i was appalled by his apparent lack of
sympathy and respect for their situation.
Some of Seamus Ludlow's relatives are getting on in years and do not
enjoy the best of health. It will be a bitter blow indeed should any
of them die before the truth about their loved one's brutal murder
I have observed on the occasions when we have met that you
personally have a burning passion for justice. Surely that passion,
and the compassion that I also know you have for the victims of the
conflict, speaks to you now. Please bring an end to this misery and
order a public inquiry into Seamus Ludlow's death.
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28 July 2000
- The following letter was received by the Ludlow family's solicitor
from the Taoiseach's office in Dublin.
Dear Mr. MacGuill,
I have been asked by the Taoiseach, Mr. Bertie Ahern, T.D. to refer
to your letters of 9 June and 18 July, 2000 about the above matter.
The Taoiseach has asked me to draw to your attention that in the
course of a reply to Parliamentary Questions on this matter on 23
May, he said
"the best way forward in my view
is for the Government to extend the remit of Mr. Hamilton to this
case on a basis broadly similar to that which applies in the case of
the Dublin/Monaghan bombings. in this regard, discussions between
Departments and offices concerned on the detailed terms of reference
are close to a conclusion, following which proposals will be put
before the Government. If approved by the Government, the proposed
terms will be the subject of consultation with Mr. Hamilton and with
the legal representatives of the victim's relatives."
The Taoiseach is conscious of the
position that you and your clients have consistently taken in favour
of the institution of an independent judicial inquiry into this
matter. However, as indicated by him in Dail Eireann, he is
convinced that the most appropriate approach is to proceed broadly
on the lines of the Commissions of Inquiry into the Dublin/Monaghan
and Dundalk bombings being conducted by the former Chief Justice,
Mr. Liam Hamilton, S.C.. Under this approach, a public judicial
inquiry is not ruled out at this stage. It would be one of a number
of options that could be considered, following on the completion of
an examination by an eminent legal person.
Nor would examination by Judge Hamilton preclude your clients
continuing, if they wished, to campaign for a public inquiry, as the
Justice for the Forgotten group continue to do in regard to the
The case of the murder of Mr. Ludlow has been dealt with in a recent
submission to the Government. it is now expected that
interdepartmental consultations on the best approach will be brought
to a conclusion soon, with a view to a further submission to an
early meeting of the Government.
pp David Feeney
Private Secretary to the Taoiseach.
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8 August 2000 - The following
ridiculous message appeared briefly on one of the campaign's
websites. It is laughable. It appears here only as an indication of
the bitter opposition that this campaign for justice arouses in
certain quarters. (Misspellings and other flaws appear here as they
Date: 08 August 2000
Comments - For every catholic who is murdered despite the
circumstances,if the reletives cannot blame loyalist terrorists then
they try to pin the blame on the security forces.The british
security forces do a tremendous job and at times a dangerous and
thankless one as well, i feel you should be condeming the likes of
the IRA rather than the people who risk they're lives to defend
their part of Britain.
So now we know the Ludlow family
should be thanking the RUC and the British Army for they did such a
"tremendous job", when they concealed the truth behind the
murder of Seamus Ludlow. Also, they, and other families of victims
of British forces and Loyalist murder gangs, should not be blaming
the actual perpetrators for their evil deeds.
The Ludlow family will
not take such advice from an apologist for the British/Loyalist
murder gangs. . . But still they persist. . .
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11 August 2000 - The Ludlow family circle was devastated on hearing
of the death, after a long illness, in Daisyhill Hospital, Newry, of
Louth County Councillor Miceal O'Donnell (aged 67 years), a dear
friend, good neighbour and a staunch supporter of their fight for
justice. The Ludlow family has lost a valuable friend and supporter
who will be dearly missed.
Living just south of the border,
and a short distance from the Sharkey-Ludlow home at Thistlecross,
Mountpleasant, Miceal had been a close and personal friend of the
late Seamus Ludlow and other members of the family.
In his role as County Councillor,
Miceal O'Donnell was always available to help the Ludlow family when asked to
do so. Elected to the Louth County Council in June 1979, Miceal held the
post of Chairman twice, 1990-91 and 1998-99, and on the latter
occasion he never failed to stand faithfully with the Ludlow family
in their demands for truth and justice.
Speaking to the local Dundalk
Democrat, 19 August 2000, Jimmy Sharkey, a nephew of Seamus
"Miceal was a very good
friend and staunch supporter of the Ludlow family. Anytime he
was called on by the family to speak at the County Council, or,
in the media, he would do so".
Jimmy said that over the past twenty
years Miceal had held the belief that the truth into Seamus' murder
would have to come out. Councillor O'Donnell went on to bring the
matter to County Council level, and in his capacity as County
Council Chairman, attended a special Press Conference organised by
the Ludlow family in Dublin on 18 February 1999. He kindly drove
three of Seamus Ludlow's nephews to Dublin on that occasion.
Proudly wearing his
chain of office as Chairman of Louth County Council, Miceal
accompanied members of the Ludlow family throughout a gruelling day
of engagements, culminating in a public public meeting later that night at
Dundalk Town Hall.
Later, in December 1999 Miceal
seconded a motion at a meeting of Louth County Council, calling for
an independent public inquiry into the murder of Seamus Ludlow. Here
is how his contribution was reported by the local Dundalk
Democrat (Saturday , 25 December 1999):
Cllr. Miceal O'Donnell said the
mentality of the seventies was still here today. He was not "garda
bashing" but he wanted to get rid of the rotten apples in the
barrel." These men now have pensions funded by the State. The
gardai said they would represent the family and they told blatant
lies. This has to be taken into
"A man's life was taken and
the only sin was that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The Ludlows must have all the information they need."
Cllr. O'Donnell said Mr. Ludlow was
a neighbour of his and on the Saturday night before his murder he
was sitting in his kitchen, teaching his children to play cards.
"That was the simple kind of man that he was", he added.
The Ludlow family was deeply honoured
to have Miceal O'Donnell's unstinting support on that occasion, and to his family they extend their
deepest sympathy towards their great loss.
Ar Dheis go raibh a Anam.
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