Latest: Revised: July 12, 2005.
18 August 2001 -
The local Dundalk Democrat newspaper featured the following letter,
dated 31 July, from Mr. John O'Donoghue TD, Minister for Justice,
Dublin, to fellow Minister Mr. Dermot Ahern TD.
Mr. Dermot Ahern TD
Minister for Social; Community
and Family Affairs
Aras Mhic Dhiarmada
31 July, 2001
I refer again to your further representations (your ref: SC/876) regarding
the late Mr. Seamus Ludlow.
The Victims Commissioner, Mr. John Wilson, in his report "A Place and a
Name" stated in respect of Mr. Ludlow's case "I am aware of the
family's strong wish that the full truth of the case should be brought to
light. I am swayed by their argument that a criminal trial will not
necessarily bring out the full facts of the case. I recommend that an
enquiry should be conducted into this case along the lines of the enquiry
into the Dublin/Monaghan bombings."
You will be aware that the Government decided in principle in September 1999
to establish an enquiry into the case of Mr Ludlow as well as the bombings
in Dublin/Monaghan and Dundalk. This proposed inquiry - which would be
carried out on the same basis as the present inquiry into the
Dublin/Monaghan bombings - has not found favour with the relatives of Mr.
Ludlow or their legal representatives. This fact was clear from our meeting
with them on 23 May last. In the circumstances, I am considering how best to
progress the matter, and I shall put proposals to this end before Government
as soon as I am in a position to do so.
With every good wish.
John O'Donoghue TD
Minister for Justice, Equality
and Law Reform
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4 October 2001 - A confidential British
police report into the death of Derry man Samuel Devenny - after an horrific
RUC beating in his own home - which has remained secret for more than thirty
years - has revealed the extent of the assault on the Devenny family on 17
Ombudsman Mrs. Nuala O'Loan has presented the Devenny family with the
contents of the 1970 Drury report into the death of Mr. Devenny. Earlier in
2001, the Devenny family asked the Ombudsman to carry out an investigation
into their father's death - just as the Ludlow family has done regarding the
RUC's handling of the Seamus
The Ombudsman has yet to conclude her
inquiries in the May 1976 Ludlow murder, though she did point out that it
may not be within her remit to look so far back. Her handling of the Devenny
case may, hopefully, hold out hope that she can also help the Ludlow family
get to the truth behind the RUC's handling of their love one's sectarian
murder in County Louth.
The Ludlow family takes heart from the fact
that Mrs. O'Loan has revealed the contents of the secret Drury Report and
that she has upheld the Devenny family's complaint that the RUC has never
communicated to them directly about this brutal assault on the late Mr.
Devenny - who tragically died three months later - and his family.
The long suppressed Drury report concluded
that four RUC officers knew what happened but were afraid of retribution
from their colleagues if they spoke out. No RUC officers were ever charged
in relation to this attack and for thirty years the truth - including access
to the withheld Drury Report - was denied to the Devenny family.
The Ludlow family applauds the Devenny
family's determination to establish the full truth behind the death of their
Further information can be found on the Pat
Finucane Centre's website.
1 November 2001 - Kevin Ludlow and Jimmy
Sharkey, representing the Ludlow family, wrote to Mr. Ruairi Quinn TD
(Leader of the Irish Labour Party) requesting a meeting with him as
soon as possible to discuss certain matters relating to the murder of Seamus
Ludlow. While appreciating that Mr. Quinn has a very busy schedule it was
also hoped that he would give the Ludlow family's request his urgent
attention. Enclosed for his information was a copy of the excellent
independent Report on the murder of Seamus Ludlow that was produced in
February 1999 by the eminent human rights organization British Irish Rights
Watch (BIRW), London.
On the same date, a letter was also sent to
the Dublin Government Minister Dermot Ahern TD (Fianna Fail, Louth)
thanking him for his continued support and requesting a meeting with him.
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1 November 2001 - The Ludlow family's
solicitor received a highly significant letter from Justice for the
Forgotten, the committee representing most of the victims and relatives
of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.
The letter was significant because it was
suggested to the Ludlow family by Mr. John O'Donoghue, Minister for Justice,
when they met with him recently, that one of the reasons why he could not
call for a separate public judicial enquiry in relation to the murder of
Seamus Ludlow was that this would disappoint and upset the Dublin/Monaghan
On that occasion the Ludlow family strongly
maintained their view that the murder of Seamus Ludlow was an entirely
separate case that should be investigated in its own terms and not be tied
to any other case no matter how similar. Significantly, the letter from Justice
for the Forgotten, as quoted below, shows that the Minister was clearly
Here is what Justice for the Forgotten
has to say:
The particular circumstances of the Dublin
and Monaghan bombings and the issues that require examination, in terms of
the collation and assessment of information, do not appear to pertain to
the murder of Seamus Ludlow. Furthermore, we do not have information
suggesting a link between the two atrocities.
It is, and has been for many years, the
demand of the bereaved families and survivors that there be a public
tribunal of inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. The report of
the Independent Commission of Inquiry will be a step along the road to
Not only does Justice for the Forgotten
not object to a full public inquiry into the murder of Seamus Ludlow, it
fully supports the call of the Seamus Ludlow campaign for such an inquiry
to be held.
For Justice for the Forgotten
Bernie McNally Phil
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6 November 2001 - In a letter to Mr. John
O'Donoghue TD, Minister for Justice, Dublin, the Ludlow family's solicitor
noted that in a letter dated 31st July to Dermot Ahern TD, he had indicated
that he was considering how best to progress matters. The Ludlow family had
expected to hear from Minister O'Donoghue but have not done so to date, so
it was hoped that he might be good enough to respond to this latest
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13 November 2001 - In a letter to Mr. Bertie
Ahern TD, Taoiseach, the Ludlow family's solicitor made a further request
for a meeting between Mr. Ahern and the Ludlow family to discuss the present
position in relation to the case with a view to progressing matters. Mr.
Ahern was reminded that previous meetings with the Minister for Justice did
not advance matters.
The Ludlow family had received no response to
several previous written requests for a meeting with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.
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23 November 2001 - In a devastating blow to
the Dublin government's proposed plan for a private inquiry and Joint
Oireachtas Committee investigation into the 1976 murder of Seamus Ludlow, the
three-judge Irish High Court in Dublin, in a landmark decision, has
sharply restricted the scope of Oireachtas investigations.
The Court has upheld a challenge by 36 members
of the armed Garda Emergency Response Unit against the conduct of the inquiry into
the April 2000 killing of John Carthy in Abbeylara, County Longford.
Oireachtas inquiries cannot now make "findings of fact or expressions of
opinion" which damage the good name of citizens who are not TDs or
Thus the gardai responsible for the death of
John Carthy remain unaccountable and those gardai who were responsible for
covering up the true facts behind the murder of Seamus Ludlow, and protecting
his loyalist/UDR killers, are likewise protected from answering questions
before a Joint Oireachtas Committee hearing.
This development now makes it imperative that
the Dublin government should immediately call into being a public inquiry
into the murder of Seamus Ludlow. The Ludlow family can have no faith in a
private inquiry process - with or without the now effectively neutered Joint
Oireachtas Committee hearing that has been promoted by Mr. John O'Donoghue
TD, the Minister for Justice.
Besides, one only has to examine the limitations of the
ongoing private Barron Inquiry that is currently being impeded by the British
failure to comply with a request for relevant files and documents, relating
to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. The Ludlow family has been implored upon
by Mr. O'Donoghue to accept this private inquiry, with the understanding that
Mr. Barron has the authority to order a full public inquiry. The Ludlow
family remains unconvinced.
The Ludlow family regards this private inquiry
process leading to a possible public inquiry as an expensive waste of time -
spending tax-payers' money on two inquiries when one was sufficient. It would
be much better if the Dublin authorities went ahead now with a full public
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November 2001 - It is reported that the Dublin government plans to appeal
against the Dublin high Court's decision to uphold
the Gardai's challenge against the Joint Oireachtas Committee's power to hold
an investigation into the shooting dead of John Carthy, of Abbeylara,
in County Longford, in April 2000. It is further reported that Mr.
O'Donoghue, Minister for Justice, intends to hold a public inquiry into this
controversial incident if the government's appeal fails.
Mr. O'Donoghue (at a meeting with him on 23
May 2001) has sought to persuade the Ludlow family to accept the private
Barron Inquiry as the best means of investigating the murder of Seamus
Ludlow, with his final report eventually being examined before an open
hearing of a Joint Oireachtas Committee, the Ludlow family is firmly of the
opinion that the minister must now proceed with a full public inquiry on the
same basis as the one he apparently has in mind for the Abbeylara inquiry.
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28 November 2001 - The following letter
appeared in the Irish
News. It was sent in response to reports that the
British authorities had decided to appoint an international judge to head a
private inquiry into the February 1989 murder of the eminent Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane
and a number of other selected cases.
The appointment was made following the
dramatic collapse of the trial of the loyalist ex-UDA quarter master and RUC
Special Branch agent William
Stobie (51) in Belfast following the withdrawal of a vital witness. The proposed
private inquiry would begin not later than April 2002.
The letter, from a member of the Ludlow
family, who fully supports the demands of the Finucane, Nelson and Hanna
families for full public inquiries into the murders of their loved
ones, sought to place on record the demands of other families whose loved
ones' murders have been excluded from this private judicial inquiry.
The letter to the Irish News is not a
definitive opinion on the proposed private inquiry, which only the Finucane
family can give. The Finucane family's opinion came quickly in a press
release. The inquiry was seen as "another delaying tactic".
The Ludlow family member's letter reads as
I have read with interest your report (27 November) of
the British decision to appoint a judge to investigate further
allegations of collusion in the murder of solicitor Pat Finucane and
others. Your report states:
"The judge would investigate allegations of
collusion in the murders of Mr Finucane, Robert Hamill, Rosemary Nelson,
Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan, Lord
Justice and Lady Gibson and LVF leader Billy Wright. And would have power
to recommend public inquiries where necessary."
There should of course be a full public inquiry into the
murder of Mr. Finucane.
While I do not automatically endorse or trust this
latest British development, given the well-trodden path of previous flawed
investigations, I do wish to address a few brief points to the
British authorities. Why stop with the above mentioned cases?
Why not investigate the obvious collusion involved in
the murder of my late uncle Seamus Ludlow, who was killed by UDR and Red
Hand Commando personnel inside County Louth on 2 May 1976? Why not also
investigate the foul murders of Jack Rooney and Hugh Watters, the victims
of the Dundalk bombing of 19 December 1975?
Further, why not fully cooperate with the ongoing
Dublin private Barron Inquiry into the infamous Dublin and Monaghan
bombings by finally handing over the long requested security files and
documentation that was requested by Mr. Justice Barron several months ago?
There is certainly ample reason for investigation of the collusion
involved in all these cases and more.
The Ludlow family, blighted by state indifference, on
both sides of the border, to the loss of their loved one at the hands of
British agents, of course renews its demand for a public judicial inquiry,
into both the murder of Seamus Ludlow and the long cover-up and smear
campaign that followed, but there seems little evidence here to suggest
that Britain has changed its disdainful attitude to the relatives of the
victims of its state murder gangs in Ireland.
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29 November 2001 - The Irish Justice Minister
Mr. John O'Donoghue TD gave the following Written Answer to a Dail Question
(No. 143) submitted by Mr. Seamus Kirk TD (Louth). Mr. Kirk had asked the
Minister if he would consider establishing a commission similar to the Truth
and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, to deal with the murder of
Unfortunately, the Minister's statement takes
this serious matter no further, with little evidence of any movement at all
in Mr. O'Donoghue's thinking regarding a public inquiry. Mr. O'Donoghue
The position in this matter remains as
outlined in my reply to Parliamentary Question No. 297 on 19th June, 2001.
The Government decided in principle in
September 1999 to establish an inquiry into this case as well as the
bombings in Dublin/Monaghan and Dundalk. This proposed inquiry - which
would be carried out on the same basis as the present inquiry into the
Dublin/Monaghan bombings - has not found favour with the relatives of the
victim or their legal representatives. In the circumstances, it has not so
far been possible to progress the matter further. I am however keeping the
matter under close review, and I very much hope that the Government will
be in a position to proceed with the proposed inquiry as soon as possible.
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2 December 2001 - Belfast journalist Ed
Moloney referred briefly to the Ludlow family's refusal to accept the private
Barron inquiry into the murder of Seamus Ludlow on the grounds of its
inadequacy, in his article "Long
List of those who want no Finucane Inquiry", that featured in the
Dublin Sunday Tribune newspaper.
The Sunday Tribune report begins:
Amid the calls for a public inquiry into the 1989
assassination of Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane last week few people noticed
that the mechanism chosen to deal with the scandal - the appointment of a
judge to decide whether to hold a public inquiry - is a device that British
prime minister Tony Blair can thank Taoiseach Bertie
Ahern for suggesting and the officials in the Republicís Department of
Justice for dreaming up.
The same strategem is being used in the Republic to
deal with two festering controversies both
of which feature allegations of dirty tricks by British intelligence south
of the Border. One is the 1974 bombing of Dublin and Monaghan by Loyalists
and the other the 1976 murder of Dundalk man, Seamus Ludlow whose killing by
Loyalists is alleged to have been covered up by an unholy alliance of
British intelligence and the Garda Special Branch.
A High Court judge, Mr Justice Barron has been
appointed to investigate both incidents and must report to the Oireachtas
whose members will decide whether a public inquiry should be held.
But the ploy has failed to satisfy all the relatives of the victims, whose
campaign obliged Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to take the
Members of Seamus Ludlowís family are having nothing
to do with the investigation on the grounds of its inadequacy while
relatives of the dead of Dublin and Monaghan are said to be increasingly
frustrated by theirís and in particular by the refusal of the British
authorities to furnish vital documents to Mr Justice Barron. . .
Please use the link above to access Ed Moloney's full
report on the Newshound website.
Latest: Revised: July 12, 2005.
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