The Murder of Seamus Ludlow in County Louth, May 1976. Towards a public inquiry?
The Irish News, 05 November 2005, Editorial:
Ludlow family deserve justice
Seamus Ludlow, who died a brutal and lonely death almost 30 years ago, would have been an entirely unsuspecting victim of a loyalist murder gang.
The 47-year-old forestry worker from Dundalk spent his final evening in local pubs and was last seen hitching a ride home.
Only a short distance away, across the border, such an innocent activity would have been regarded as highly dangerous and people leaving bars would have been on their guard for any suspicious behaviour.
However, the atmosphere in the Republic would have been much more relaxed.
Seamus Ludlow probably had few qualms about accepting a lift from strangers.
He was not to know that those he trusted to take him home would in fact take his life.
Mr Ludlow's body was found with three gunshot wounds in a laneway near his house in may 1976.
The pain and anguish suffered by his family at this shattering news was compounded over three decades by the abject failure of the authorities to reveal the truth and bring the killers to justice.
Far from receiving accurate information, the family were wrongly told by gardai that their brother was killed by the IRA, amid claims he had been an informer.
Furthermore, the Garda investigation was suspended after just three weeks and an inquest took place without the presence of the Ludlow family members who apparently "could not be contacted" in time for the hearing.
Even then, the family probably had little idea just how many long years of frustration, anger, division and hurt were to lie ahead.
However, they have doggedly fought on and campaigned about their brother's death and the police investigation which followed.
The latest stage in the campaign came on Thursday with the publication of a 100-page report by Mr Justice Henry Barron.
His inquiry found that Seamus Ludlow's death was a random sectarian murder and named four suspects, including two members of the UDR.
And while the report makes no clear findings about the allegations of collusion, it raises serious concerns about the Garda decision not to pursue these suspects through the RUC at the time.
As a result of a second investigation in 1996 gardai contacted the RUC and the named men were arrested. However, the DPP in Northern Ireland decided not to pursue charges.
Clearly, there are many worrying questions about this murder which have not been fully answered.
The Ludlow family are continuing to press for an independent inquiry and they, like so many other bereaved relatives, deserve to discover the truth.
However, it is unacceptable that these families face enormous difficulties in the rightful pursuit of justice.
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SUPPORT THE SEAMUS LUDLOW APPEAL FUNDBank of Ireland 78 Clanbrassil Street Dundalk County Louth Ireland
Account No. 70037984
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