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.    This photograph of Seamus Ludlow was taken later in his life.This is a youthful photograph of Seamus Ludlow, taken several years before his murder.This memorial stone marks the place where the dead body of Seamus Ludlow was discovered on Sunday 2nd. May, 1976. This new stone recently replaced another stone.




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The Dundalk Democrat, 9 March 2002:

Ludlow relatives meet NI Ombudsman

Sympathy but no new information

By Anne-Marie Eaton

Those responsible for the 1976 murder of Mountpleasant man Seamus Ludlow were known to security forces in the North as far back as 1977 and the Gardai Siochana were aware of their identities in 1979, members of the Ludlow family were informed by Northern Ireland Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan this week.

Seamus' nephews, Jimmy Sharkey, Michael Donegan and Brendan Larkin, along with legal representation and Jane Winter, of British Irish rights Watch, met with Mrs O'Loan in Belfast on Monday afternoon last.

Seamus Ludlow was hitching a lift home on Saturday 1st May 1976. His body was found in a laneway close to his home the following day. He had been shot three times. It is believed he was driven to the laneway and shot by the loyalist Red Hand Commandos, in what may have been a case of mistaken identity.

Jimmy Sharkey, speaking to the "Democrat" this week, said of the meeting with the Police Ombudsman: "She didn't tell us anything we didn't know, with the exception that the killers identities were known in 1977.

"The RUC Special Branch in 1977 had the four names. They also had substantive information, which Mrs O'Loan could not elaborate on".

Jimmy explained that this information was passed on to Detective Chief Superintendent John Courtney on February 15th 1979 at a meeting with the RUC Special Branch held in Belfast. It is understood that he was happy to receive the information and a course of action that may be taken was discussed at the meeting.

"I asked was there a reason given for the lapse of eighteen months in giving information, but this couldn't be explained. Mrs O'Loan did say that this lapse didn't constitute anything inappropriate but put it down to 'sloppy paperwork'.

"She couldn't understand when the information was given in 1979 to the Garda Siochana that nothing was done. Why they should wait until 1998 when they could have done the same years ago was beyond her. They had the same information all those years ago".

Other details were also given such as the weapon used to shoot Seamus.

Jimmy says: "The gun used was a .38 Smith and Wesson revolver. I asked was this a standard UDR issue gun but she couldn't elaborate because she didn't know.

"The yellow Datsun used was traced to a scrap yard in the 1990s but there has been no evidence to suggest that the car was taken for forensic testing".

Mrs O'Loan couldn't explain to the family why the DPP didn't prosecute in 1998. There were strong charges. In her view there could have been prosecutions.

Four men were questioned in relation to the murder in February 1998. They were detained at Castlereagh Holding Centre and were released without charge.

Paul Hosking, who was interviewed in the national media was one of the men held and admitted to being present when the murder took place. It is also believed that another occupant in the car has implicated himself.

Two others in the car when Seamus was murdered, including the suspected killer, were involved in a killing in 1976.

On last Monday's meeting, Jimmy said: "Mrs O'Loan was very sympathetic to the family's situation, and although she wasn't telling us anything new she was showing us we were going in the right direction. It was agreed at the table that the problem now seems to be in Dublin.

"We explained to her that the family's problem with the Barron Enquiry was the secrecy surrounding it. What we really want to know now is what has the Government to hide.

He continued: "In meetings with the family, John O'Donoghue and Dermot Ahern have said the Government has nothing to hide in the murder of Seamus Ludlow.

"The facts are the information was given in 1979 was strong enough to extradite and prosecute. The case died nineteen days after the murder. From 1979 to 1998 the investigation went dry. Someone stopped this, most likely at a very high level".

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