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




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The Irish Independent,  7 September 2005:

Ludlow family renew plea for murder inquiry

Tom Felle

The family of a man murdered by loyalists 29 years ago last night called for a public inquiry into his death.

They made the plea following the conclusion of an inquest into the death of Seamus Ludlow (47) of Culfore, Dundalk, whose body was found dumped in a ditch 500 yards from his home on May 2, 1976.

Last night, his nephew Jimmy Sharkey said he believed evidence disclosed at the inquest strengthened their calls foe a public inquiry into the murder.

Senior gardai told the inquest they had information as far back as 1979 that loyalists were involved in the murder, but nothing was done about it. The inquest heard that the RUC had passed on the names and addresses of strong suspects to gardai but despite requests by gardai for authority to interview the men, garda headquarters did not act on it.

Retired Chief Superintendent, Ted Murphy, said he was ordered in 1996 by the then garda commissioner to review the case following petitions by the Ludlow family.

He said information passed on to the then investigating officer, retired Chief Superintendent John Courtney, by the RUC in 1979 that four men with Loyalist connections were strong suspects in the murder proved accurate.

The four suspects were interviewed by the RUC. Two of the four gave detailed accounts of how the murder was carried out, which fitted with the facts, added Mr Murphy.

But a decision was made by the Director of Public Prosecutions in Northern Ireland not to prosecute. This information was passed on to Garda headquarters by former chief Superintendent John Courtney in 1979, with a request to interview the men, but Chief Supt Courtney claimed in evidence that his garda superiors had "sat on it".

the Ludlow family has always claimed that four loyalist Red Hand Commandos, including two members of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) carried out the killing.

A report on the killing prepared by Mr Justice Henry Barron was given to the Government in November last year but has yet to be published.

The inquest jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing.

See also:


Ulster Television online report, 5 September 2005: Inquest into death of Seamus Ludlow

RTE News online report, 5 September 2005: Second inquest into Louth murder 05 September 2005 17:19  

RTE News online, 6 September 2005 22:08 Unlawful killing verdict at Ludlow inquest

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

Daily Ireland, 7 September 2005: Call for public inquiry

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Revised: September 11, 2005