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

 

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The Irish Examiner, 5 November 2005:

Wren rejects claims of links to Ludlow case

by John Breslin

A former Garda Commissioner has rejected allegations he was involved in blocking the pursuit of the suspected killers of Seamus Ludlow.

Laurence Wren, deputy commissioner when the names of the four suspects linked to the ulster Defence Association were passed to the gardai by the RUC, most probably made the decision not to follow up on the information, Mr Justice Henry Barron said.

"It's just surmisng, there's no positive charge against me in any shape or form. I do not accept it at all," said Mr Wren, Garda Cmmissioner from 1983 to 1987.

Mr Wren added: "There was never anyobjection to writing to outside police forces, the RUC or otherwise. But the question of going into their area, and likewise they coming into ours, did not exist."

The commissioner of the day sent out a directive making this policy clear.

Seamus Ludlow, (47), was shot dead in 1976. The British security forces had names of four suspects by the summer of the following year, but they were not passed on to the gardai until January 1979. No action appears to have been taken until after Mr Ludlow's family began to ask questions in the mid-1990s. The four were arrested and two made statements confirming their involvement in his death but the North's DPP did not press charges.

Mr Wren said he remembers nothing of the case, that he was not involved, that his branch, C3 anti-subversive, was not involved in investigating crime.

The Barron Report is critical of gardai at various levels, but Mr Wren does not accept he played a part in those failings.

"It was not my direct concern at all," he said.

Of Mr Ludlow's family, he said: "I have nothing to say to them."

The murdered man's brother Kevin has called for an independent public inquiry that is able to compel witnesses in this jurisdiction to attend. The family believes the Irish Government will then be able to exert pressure on the British to co-operate.

Kevin Ludlow is also seeking an apology from the gardai, for failing to adequately pursue the suspects and for falsely giving the impression for years the IRA killed him for being an informer.

"The big question is why was so much covered up? Why were we told lies for 30 years?" said Mr Ludlow.

An Oireachtas sub-committee is to hold hearings to discuss the Ludlow report.

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