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.
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".
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
Mr Moloney asked: "What made the gunman so
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
"How can it be right? Why are the state so frightened of
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
"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".
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
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
He said: "My thoughts are of the family. Naturally they
want to get to the truth and the public need to know exactly what
There were a number of unexplained murders, he said, and it
would be a small consolation to those relatives to know the truth.
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
"He said that this had happened before the
Government's time. Yet we now know that consecutive governments have sat on
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.
Ombudsman for the Northern Ireland Police force is to look at the case again.
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
Unfortunately there is no such Ombudsman
in the Republic to carry out investigations in a similar manner.
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.
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".
fact that Jimmy, Kevin and the other members of Seamus' family have uncovered
so much detail about the night in question drives them on.
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".
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.
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.
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