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, 23 October 1999:

No prosecution in Ludlow murder

Almost a year to the day that a file was submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions in Northern Ireland regarding the May 1976 murder of Mountpleasant man Seamus Ludlow, it was disclosed that no prosecutions were to take place in connection with the murder, writes Anne-Marie Eaton.

This marks yet another blow for the Ludlow-Sharkey family who over the past twenty-three years have been trying to bring Seamus' killers to justice.

The body of the forty-seven year old forestry worker was found by day trippers on 2nd May 1976, in a laneway close to his Thistle Cross, Mountpleasant home. He had been shot three times. He was last seen the previous night at Lisdoo, thumbing a lift.


One of the first matters of concern, after the killing came to Seamus' family's attention on the day of his inquest, 19th August 1976. Members of the family were not notified of the inquest until it was too late to attend. For many years, Seamus' brother Kevin Ludlow has wondered how, according to Gardai at the time, notification of the inquest had been 'overlooked' particularly as he himself had identified Seamus' body.

Over the years Gardai informed members of the Ludlow-Sharkey family that the IRA was responsible for Seamus' murder. However, the IRA denied this to the family on a number of occasions. In May 1996, the 20th anniversary of Seamus' death death, his family held a Press Conference in Dublin, asking for investigation into his murder to recommence.


In February 1998 four men were detained in Castlereagh, Belfast and questioned in relation to the 1976 murder. One of the men concerned had been taken from his home in England. Senior gardai at this time visited Castlereagh. They were later released without charge.

On 8th March 1998 startling information was revealed in the 'Sunday Tribune' by Ed Moloney in an interview with Paul Hosking who stated that he was an eye-witness to the murder of Seamus Ludlow.

Contrary to what Seamus' family had been told by Gardai, Hosking stated that the murder was carried out by three UDR soldiers who were also members of the Loyalist Red Hand Commandos. Hosking, who was nineteen years old at the time of Seamus Ludlow's killing, told the RUC details in 1987 and was told to "forget it, it's political."

Paul Hosking was included in the four men detained in Castlereagh the previous month.

It was later reported in the National Press that Gardai were aware of the killers' identities as far back as 1979. In October of 1998 a file was submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions in Northern Ireland concerning Seamus' murder.

In recent months a report was published by Victims Commission Chairman, John Wilson entitled "A Place and a Name." In the report a recommendation was made that a private inquiry be carried out into Seamus' murder. This was confirmed in early October by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern who also reaffirmed that because there was a likelihood of criminal proceedings, a report on the inquiry could not be made public.

On Monday evening last a spokesperson for the Director of Public Prosecutions in Northern Ireland confirmed to this paper that a direction for no prosecution was issued to police on Friday last.


Seamus' brother Kevin and his nephew Jimmy Sharkey, while both expressing the family's disappointment with the decision not to prosecute, were not in any way surprised. They also asked why could no prosecutions be carried out when one of the men gave an account of the murder to the National Press and gave details to the RUC a number of years ago?

Kevin  Ludlow went on to say that "now that the chance of criminal proceedings was no longer a problem, a public inquiry in the South could now take place."

"There is no excuse for not holding a public inquiry now", he added.

While the Ludlow-Sharkey family decide on their future plans, UTV will give coverage to the murder of Seamus Ludlow on the channel's 'Insight' programme which will be broadcast on Monday night next at 8pm. The television crew concerned this week visited members of Seamus' family, the location where his body was found and also his grave.

S.F Councillor's view

Sinn Fein Councillor, Arthur Morgan, Chairperson, Louth Comhaire Ceanntair,, this week issued the following statement:-

"Sinn Fein in Co Louth urges the Irish Government to hold a public inquiry into the Seamus Ludlow murder.

"The decision by the Northern Director of Public Prosecutions not to press charges over the murder, adds fuel to the strong belief held by many, that there has been a systematic cover-up by both Gardai and the RUC for over two decades.

"The family of Seamus Ludlow deserve to know the full facts concerning this murder."

I Homepage I I Top I I Press Coverage I I BIRW Report I I Irish Victims Commission Report I

The Argus, 27 August 1976: Inquest hears of North Louth shooting

The Argus, 14 May 1976: Louth murder: Provo statement

The Dundalk Democrat, 4 May 1996: The Seamus Ludlow murder

The Dundalk Democrat,11 May 1996: New information on Ludlow murder

The Sunday Tribune, 8 March 1998: Ed Moloney The  killing of Seamus Ludlow: Northern Editor reports on how the RUC covered up the part played by members of the security forces in a loyalist gang murder in County Louth in 1976.

The Sunday Tribune, 15 March 1998: Questions raised over Ludlow Murder.

The Sunday Tribune Editorial, 15 March 1998: Time for Ludlow Inquiry

The Dundalk Democrat, 7 August 1999: Ludlow murder inquiry report "A place and a name"

The Sunday Tribune, 8 August 1999: The case that is not going to go away

The Examiner, 10 August 1999: Report recommends inquiries into Ludlow murder, Dundalk bombing

An Phoblacht/Republican News, 14 October 1999: Relatives demand justice

The Irish News,  13 October 1999: Families call for inquiries into loyalist murders

The Dundalk Democrat, 16 October 1999: "Border Relatives" group established

The Sunday Tribune, Sunday 17 October 1999, by Ed Moloney: North's DPP has decided not to charge Loyalists arrested in connection with Ludlow killing

The Irish Times,  20 October 1999: DPP decides against Ludlow case charges

The Irish News, 20 October 1999: Relatives reject "cover-up" inquiry

The Irish News, 21 October 1999: SF calls for inquiry into '76 murder

The Irish Independent, 8 November 1999: Wilson supports extradition of four