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




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The Irish Daily Star, 6 September 2005:

' Gardai did not follow up on murder details'

By Elaine Keogh

The inquest into the death of  a forestry worker murdered 29 years ago has heard that 18 months after his killing the RUC gave senior gardai the names of the UDA men who killed him - but they did not act on the information.

The body of a Co. Louth man Seamus Ludlow (47) was found with gunshot wounds, dumped down a laneway not far from his home at Culfore, Mountpleasant, Dundalk on May 2, 1976.


His family,  who have long campaigned for this inquest, have always believed that Mr Ludlow was hitching a lift home when he was picked up by loyalist paramilitaries.

They also have concerns about possible garda collusion.

Yesterday retired garda, John Courtney, then a detective inspector with the murder squad in Dublin and involved in the Ludlow investigation, said that about 18 months after the killing, while meeting the RUC in Belfast on another matter, two detectives said they might be able to help him.

"They gave details of what happened and the names of the persons involved. I was happy enough they would be the persons involved . . . based on the information they gave me."

He said he wrote a report about this new information which was sent to the chief superintendent in the area, Dick Fahy, and on to C3, the section in Garda Headquarters that deals with 'subversives'.

"I  heard no more about it afterwards.

"I made enquiries and was told nothing was being done about it and that was that."

Less than a month later he followed up on it as he wanted to interview the suspects.

He was told by a garda in C3, that the "man in charge would not do anything about it".

There was no more explanation given to him, he said.

Cross examined by Ms Deirdre Murphy, for the Ludlow family, whether he got some explanation, Mr. Courtney said: "I suppose they sat on it in headquarters.

"I was anxious to interview them - I couldn't do it without authority and I didn't get any authority to do it.


He aid that within three months, he had ruled out the possibility that the IRA was responsible for the death.

The family said that, for years, the gardai had led them to believe the IRA had killed him.

The former State Pathologist, Dr John Harbison, said the post mortem revealed the victim had been shot three times - the fatal bullet was fired "at near or contact range, a range of no more than six inches," he said.




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

Monaghan County of Intrigue (1979) by the late Michael Cunningham: Quoting from Mr. Cunningham's account of his private investigation of Seamus Ludlow's murder.

The Irish Independent, 19 July 2002: Fresh inquest into death of murdered man

The Irish News, 19 July 2002: Family welcome inquest 26 years after murder

The Dundalk Democrat, 20 July 2002: Second inquest to be held into the death of Seamus Ludlow

The Irish News 5 March 2003: Family's wait for murder file over

The Dundalk Democrat, 8 March 2003: Ludlow murder: files to be made available


The Irish News, 11 March 2003: Family 'cautious' over inquest progress

The Irish News, 21 March 2003: Loyalist murder inquiry call renewed

The Irish Sun, 26 March 2003: Report on Ludlow to be unveiled

The Irish News, 27 March 2003: Government 'will not keep Ludlow secrets'

The Dundalk Democrat, 16 August 2003: Date for Ludlow inquest

The Irish News, 7 October 2003: Coroner still awaiting copy of murder report

The Dundalk Democrat, 8 November 2003: Inquest could be next January

See also: 

The Irish News, 7 September 2005: 'Gardai evidence strengthens case for public inquiry'

The Irish Independent, 7 September 2005: Ludlow family renew plea for murder inquiry

The Irish Times, 7 September 2005: Inquest told of statements admitting part in killing

Daily Ireland, 7 September 2005: Call for public inquiry

The Belfast Telegraph, 7 September 2005: Probe call into 1976 murder

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Copyright 2005 the Ludlow family. All rights reserved.
Revised: September 18, 2005 .