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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These two reports of the Ludlow family's 25th anniversary commemoration of the murder of Seamus Ludlow appeared in The Dundalk Democrat, Saturday 5th May 2001.

 

Seamus Ludlow commemorated at simple but moving ceremony.

 

Treated like a dog and thrown in a ditch.

By Anne-Marie Eaton

Last Sunday was what many would describe as a "pet day". Clear skies, no sign of rain - a day to get out and about. But for the Ludlow family, friends and supporters it was a day to remember Seamus Ludlow, who, on 2nd May 1976 was murdered by Red Hand Commandos and his body dumped in a laneway close to his Mountpleasant home

Over two hundred people gathered along the Bog Road and as many as possible in the laneway for a commemoration and wreath laying ceremony.

Benny Ludlow, speaking for Kevin Ludlow, Seamus' last surviving brother, welcomed all to the ceremony.

Two of Seamus Ludlow's sisters and a brother lay a wreath at the memorial.Kevin, along with his sisters Nan Sharkey and Eileen Fox then laid a wreath at the memorial.

Wreaths were also placed by the Ludlow, Larkin and Donegan families.

Relatives of those who died in the Dundalk, Castleblayney and Dublin/Monaghan bombings also placed wreaths. Michael Donegan, Seamus' nephew thanked them for coming along to the commemoration. "They have also lost relatives and have suffered at the hands of the state".

Ed Moloney, journalist with the Sunday Tribune, who has met with Paul Hosking, an eyewitness to the murder, also spoke.

In thanking the Ludlow family for inviting him, he said that he doesn't normally speak on articles he has written. "But I feel it necessary to break with tradition as regards Seamus Ludlow".

It was, he said, twenty-five years since he was shot and dumped along the laneway and a lot was now known about the events surrounding his death.

"We know the Guards knew who was responsible not long after. We know the RUC Special Branch had the information".

Behaved disgracefully.

He continued: "The authorities in the state have behaved disgracefully - they have lied, misled and deliberately divided he Ludlow family, pitched sibling against sibling for two decades - that can never be recovered".

Mr Moloney asked: "What  made the gunman so special?"

The Irish Government, he said, "is forever pressing Tony Blair to clear out the skeletons. What about their own? Unlike the public enquiries in the Derry Guild Hall and Dublin Castle, the outcome may or not be followed up.

"How can it be right? Why are the state so frightened of Seamus' death?

He concluded: "Only the guilty skulk in the dark while the innocent come out crying for light".

Michael Donegan, speaking on behalf of the family said: "Why are we here? Because a man was murdered. Because Life didn't count. But his family did care. We will not forget him and what was done".

He went on: "Seamus was treated like a dog and thrown in a ditch. The authorities he revered and accepted let him and his family down. And his secret inquest - the family had to read about it in the "Democrat" along with everyone else. We know nothing of the ballistics and forensic reports.

"They were all locked away".

On meeting with the Taoiseach, Michael said: "The family have tried to meet with Bertie Ahern, but the letter hasn't even been acknowledged. Why can't he face us?

"He met with the father of Billy Wright, a loyalist murderer, yet he can't meet with an innocent family.

"We have waited eighteen months to learn if there is going to be an enquiry. Mr Ahern won't acknowledge us, yet writes to our solicitor, asking us to accept his enquiry".

The family, he noted, have found out events that took place on the night. "We know a British soldier was sitting in the Lisdoo and a car was outside with three people sitting inside".

"He concluded by saying: "While we live, we'll make sure they never forget".

Monsignor Raymond Murray said: "To think of Seamus is to think of his human dignity and the eternal dimensions of his life. All the places he was and the people he knew - in short, his life".

Photograph: Monsignor Raymond Murray, who travelled from Cookstown to be with the Ludlow family, makes a short address at the Commemoration.On the hardships the Ludlow family have endured over the years he stated: "Seamus' family have suffered over the years. And then there was what I call The Big Lie - his character assassination".

He went on to say: "Put it another way. If it was us in charge, what would we not have done? How would we have treated the family?

However, Mgr Murray added that there was hope. The truth, he said, has always an extraordinary way of coming out.

The Commemoration concluded with An tAthair Brian MacRois, Kilkerley, leading the group in prayers. An tAth MacRois was assigned to Lordship Parish at the time of the murder and was called upon when the body was discovered.

 

Government has nothing to hide, says Ahern.

Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs, Dermot Ahern TD has stated that  the Irish Government has nothing to hide in relation to the murder of Seamus Ludlow.

Minister Ahern was included in a report on Seamus' murder, televised on TV3 last Thursday.

He stated that the murder had happened before the Government's time and added that this was now a time of transparency and openness.

The report also included interviews with Seamus' brother Kevin and nephew Jimmy Sharkey.

The Ludlow family attended a special anniversary Mass in Lordship last night (Wednesday). On Sunday last hundreds gathered in the laneway off the Bog Road in Mountpleasant, where Seamus was shot, by what is believed to have been loyalist Red Hand Commandos, and his body dumped.

"The family were delighted with the response to the public commemoration ceremony. It gives us the courage to go on.

"The fact that so many turned out for the ceremony, including neighbours, people from throughout Faughart, Ravensdale and as far away as Co. Monaghan, demonstrates that people are fully behind us in our quest for justice for Seamus".

Jimmy said that the family had also appreciated the attendance of Seamus Kirk TD as well as Councillors Seamus Byrne, Seamus Keelan, Tommy Reilly and Arthur Morgan.

Speaking to the "Democrat" this week, Mr Kirk said he is to put forward a parliamentary question in order to get an update on the Ludlow murder.

He said: "My thoughts are of the family. Naturally they want to get to the truth and the public need to know exactly what happened".

There were a number of unexplained murders, he said, and it would be a small consolation to those relatives to know the truth.

On Minister Ahern's recent comments, Jimmy asks: "I would like to know is he speaking for himself or is this the present Government stance as regards Seamus.

"He said that this had happened before the Government's time. Yet we now know that consecutive governments have sat on information".

It is now over three years since four men were detained in Castlereagh and questioned in relation to the murder of Seamus Ludlow, over eighteen months since the Director of Public Prosecutions in Northern Ireland decided not to bring any charges.

The Ombudsman for the Northern Ireland Police force is to look at the case again.

"The lapse of time between the murder and now may mean that she cannot investigate the murder itself but she may be able to look into the more recent investigations".

Unfortunately there is no such Ombudsman in the Republic to carry out investigations in a similar manner.

"Ninety-five per cent of the time the Gardai do a good job, but there are cases when actions should be looked into".

If the Ludlow family are successful in their efforts then it may blow other cases out into the open and it is perhaps because of this that there are delays in his case and a reluctance to a public enquiry.

"If Seamus' murder was an isolated case, it may have been a different matter.

"Upwards of sixty people were killed and no-one was ever brought to justice and no reason why they were never brought to justice was given".

The fact that Jimmy, Kevin and the other members of Seamus' family have uncovered so much detail about the night in question drives them on.

"We do know the car concerned was in town twenty minutes before. There weren't too many with such a  vibrant yellow colour and it was a sleek vehicle. We also know that it passed Kirk's garage at least twice. The initial target wasn't Seamus Ludlow. They were after a senior republican though, we have dispelled the theory that it was a man who resembled Seamus".

Looking back on the past twenty-five years, no doubt, brings mixed feelings to the Ludlow family's minds. The doubt planted in their heads that perhaps one of his own family murdered him, was in their opinion, a low act.

"It did not create us having a suspicion of each other but we did all have varying opinions of what happened. It's only in the last seven or eight years that we have really come together on the murder.

However, it may be the attempt to divide the family has its positive aspect.

"What might have caused division years ago has definitely brought us closer together now. We meet on a regular basis to discuss the case. You only have to look at last Sunday's commemoration. It was not organized by a company or association. It was Seamus' family coming together to remember him and his murder".

The Commemoration: I 1 I 2 I 3 I 4 I

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