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




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Daily Ireland,  5 November 2005:

Ludlow suspect in swap deal

by Ciaran Barnes

The RUC planned to hand over to the Garda Siochana the man suspected of murdering Seamus Ludlow in return for the Irish  government extraditing leading republican Dominic McGlinchey to the North.

The revelation is contained in judge Henry Barron's report into the Ludlow killing, which was published on Thursday.

The 47-year-old Dundalk man was murdered by a loyalist gang that included two serving British   Army soldiers.

Despite knowing for almost two decades that loyalists were responsible, gardai claimed the IRA had carried out the killing.

The Ludlow family have called for a full independent public inquiry into the gardai's failure to pursue their relative's murderers.

In the late 1970s, the RUC interviewed a Co Down loyalist about Mr Ludlow's death. The paramilitary was serving four years in prison at the time for possession of weapons.

According to the loyalist, detectives told him he would be extradited to the Republic to face questioning about the Ludlow murder in return for Dominic McGlinchey being sent  North.

McGlinchey was in jail in the Republic at the time on highjacking charges. He was wanted for questioning in the North about a number of paramilitary attacks.

In his report, Judge Barron noted: "At an early stage of the investigation (name withheld for legal reasons) claimed that he had been interviewed about the same case (Ludlow) in 1978 or 1979, while under arrest for possession of a nine-millimetre Star pistol."

The judge then quoted the loyalist as saying: "On the fifth day, second interview, I was taken to an outside interview room and three detectives came in.

Ludlow suspect in  McGlinchey swap deal claim

"I was questioned about a thing in Comber (a town in Co Down) and the Garda Siochana and about someone being murdered over the Border, and an extradition warrant was mentioned.

"The police mentioned something about a swap between me and Dominic McGlinchey."

The McGlinchey family have never been informed of the extradition swap deal involving their relative and the loyalist suspected of murdering Mr Ludlow.

Paul McGlinchey, Dominic's brother, said the gardai were determined to hand Dominic McGlinchey to the RUC.

He said: "The gardai tried to smuggle Dominic over the Border after his arrest in the Republic in the late 1970s.

"Because he escaped and was involved in a shoot-out with the gardai, they had no other option but to charge and jail him in the South.

"It doesn't surprise me he was being used as a pawn by the British and Irish governments. Nothing the gardai gets up to surprises me."

Sinn Fein Dail leader, Caoimhghain O Caolain described the McGlinchey extradition plan as "disturbing".

"It should be remembered that, while this loyalist was being questioned about the Ludlow murder, the gardai were running around telling the world that the IRA was responsible.

"This who case stinks to high heavens and needs to be aired so the Ludlow family can find out the truth and get closure," he said.

After surviving a number of murder bids, Dominic McGlinchey was shot dead in February 1994 near his home in Drogheda, Co Louth. No organisation claimed responsibility for the killing.

The 39-year-old had been a leading member of the IRA in south Derry. After being released from prison in 1982, he joined the Irish National Liberation Army.