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 Irish Echo, 11-17 August, 1999:

Report urges private probe of 1974 Republic bombs

Angry relatives of the dead and injured in the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings have clashed with former Tanaiste John Wilson following his recommendation that a private judicial inquiry be held into the atrocities, with the findings then made public.

By Andrew Bushe

DUBLIN -- Angry relatives of the dead and injured in the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings have clashed with former Tanaiste John Wilson following his recommendation that a private judicial inquiry be held into the atrocities, with the findings then made public.

After the Good Friday peace agreement of April 1998, Wilson was appointed as commissioner to consider the situation of victims of the Northern Ireland Troubles living in the Republic.

His wide-ranging report, released Wednesday in Dublin, contains a series of recommendations to deal with the emotional, medical, financial and commemorative issues surrounding the victims.

Wilson's report also suggests that retired Supreme Court judges conduct independent inquiries into the bombings as well as into the death of Seamus Ludlow, 47, a bachelor with no paramilitary links who was shot dead near his Dundalk home in 1976.

Last year, a man made a statement to the RUC and subsequently three former Ulster Defense Regiment members were questioned by the RUC in connection with Ludlow's death and a file has been sent to the North's director of public prosecutions.

There has also been suggestions of security-force collusion with loyalist terrorist groups in the near simultaneous three-car-bomb explosions in Dublin and Monaghan

No one has ever been charged with the Ludlow killing nor with the bombings, which left 33 dead and more than 200 injured. The bombings caused the greatest loss of life in a single day since the Troubles began and have been dubbed the "forgotten massacre" by the relatives.

Public inquiry sought

Greg O'Neill, the lawyer for the relatives' group, Justice for the Forgotten, said he will urge the government to set up a full public inquiry.

He said arrangements could be made within a public inquiry to deal with sensitive evidence or to hear the testimony of witnesses who might be reluctant to appear in public.

"It is essential it is a public inquiry," he said. "The sense of there being a cover-up for the last 25 years has to be removed."

O'Neill said there had been "shocking revelations" earlier this year about the lack of cooperation between the gardai and forensics experts.

However, Wilson said some victims' relatives he had met did not want an inquiry at all.

"They don't want a kind of circus and being exposed to all that kind of publicity," Wilson said. "Strictly speaking, what I am recommending is both private and public because the retired Supreme Court judge will make his report public.

"It is very important when dealing with this to understand the hurt of the people and this gives rise to anger. Anger is not always conducive to sound judgment about anything."

The response from some of the relatives was angry. "What are they afraid of?" asked Frank Massey, whose 21-year-old daughter, Anna, was killed in Dublin.

"I have no time for politicians for the way they have treated us. They have treated us like lepers. We are looking for justice and truth. I want to know who murdered my daughter and I want to know why she was murdered. They'll have to have a bloody good reason for it."

Martesa Kearney, who was injured in the Talbot Street bomb in Dublin, said Wilson's proposal didn't go far enough. If public inquiries involving two judges could be held because people didn't pay their taxes, then there should also be one into an atrocity that claimed so many lives and maimed so many people.

Michelle O'Brien, who was 8 when her mother was killed in the bombings, said that, unlike the victims of other atrocities, there was little help for them.

Government sources indicated the recommendations of the commission will be accepted.

The bombings have been surrounded in controversy, with some claiming there was British security-force collusion with loyalist terrorists in the planting of the no-warning car bombs.

In 1997, Dublin pensioner Paddy Doyle failed in a court bid to obtain Irish police investigation reports of the bombings to help him fight a case against Britain in the European Court.

Doyle lost his daughter Anna, son-in-law John and two infant granddaughters, Anne Marie and Jacqueline, in one of the two Dublin bombings.

He took the case against Garda commissioner Patrick Byrne, who argued that the files were sensitive and confidential.

Doyle's complaint to the European Court of Human Rights centers on allegations that the RUC failed to investigate the bombings adequately.

In a 1993 TV documentary, a spokesman for a loyalist terror group, the Portadown-based Mid-Ulster Brigade of the Ulster Volunteer Force, admitted involvement in the bombings.

The documentary claimed the identity of the eight UVF bombers was known to gardai within days of the bombings and another 12 names had been added with the help of intelligence sources in the North.

Report details

Wilson's report, entitled "A Place And A Name", also recommends a payment of 10,000 to bereaved families, payment of continuing costs, a pension for some victims and a general review of the compensation plan for criminal injuries.

He also recommends a joint British Irish "Cultural and Resource body" to help victims bring their stories to a wider audience.

It would also be responsible for a monument , a day of remembrance, a memorial buildings and a victims' archive.

Wilson said he believed one of the most important recommendations involved the establishment of trauma teams in all the health board areas.

They would involve doctors, social workers, teachers, clergy, gardai and voluntary agencies who would be ready and trained to deal with any major incidents like bombings, but could also be called in for other stressful or emotionally traumatic incidents like large fires or extensive flooding.

This article was written in the issue of August 11-17, 1999


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See Also:

RTE, 05 August 1999: Relatives of 1974 bomb victims demand public inquiry

BBC: Thursday, 5 August, 1999  Special Report Inquiry call into 1974 loyalist atrocity

The Irish Times, 6 August 1999: Private inquiry likely into 1974 bombings Victims angry at proposal

The Irish Examiner, 6 August 1999: Perceptions of cover up from a closed inquiry

The Irish Examiner, 6 August 1999: Victims demand justice

The Irish News, 7 August 1999: Ludlows call for public 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 (formerly The Crossmaglen Examiner), 10 August 1999: Report recommends inquiries into Ludlow murder, Dundalk bombing

An Phoblacht / Republican News, 12 August 1999: Dublin/Monaghan and Ludlow inquiries must be public Report of the Victims Commission 

The Dundalk Democrat, 14 August 1999: "Ludlow inquiry must be public" - says Arthur Morgan

The Dundalk Democrat, 14 August 1999: "Dublin/Monaghan bombings inquiry should be public" says O Caolain

The Dundalk Democrat, 21 August 1999: "A deafening silence"

The Sunday Tribune, Letters to the Editor, 19 September 1999: In support of Ed Moloney

The Irish Examiner, 30 September 1999: Bombings investigations but no public inquiry

The Irish Times, 30 September 1999: Relatives condemn bombings inquiry plan

The Argus Weekender, 2 October 1999: Cabinet broadens scope of enquiry to include the Dundalk bombing

The Dundalk Democrat, 2 October 1999: Private enquiries into Ludlow murder and Dundalk bombing

The Sunday Tribune, 3 October 1999:  Ludlow inquiry limited 

The Irish Times, 13 October 1999: Victims seek wider inquiry

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

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

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

Copyright 2003 the Ludlow family. All rights reserved

Revised: September 13, 2003 .