The Irish News, 17 April 2001
'must be investigated'
By Aeneas Bonner
RELATIVES of a Co Louth man murdered by loyalists in 1976 have asked the Police
Ombudsman to investigate the RUC's handling of the case.
The family of Seamus Ludlow has been involved in a long campaign to uncover the
truth behind the killing, amid allegations of a cover-up by security forces on
both sides of the border.
Mr Ludlow's nephew Michael Donegan confirmed yesterday that they had contacted
the north's Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan, to investigate the RUC's handling of
He said they had toyed with the idea for some time, but were persuaded of her
office's 'teeth' following recent arrests in relation to the Robert Hamill case.
"We thought we should maybe give them a chance, because basically everyone
else we have tried has failed," he said.
Mr Ludlow, a 47-year-old forestry worker, was found shot and dumped in a laneway
near his border home in May 1976. The murder was initially blamed by Gardai on
the IRA, but evidence mounted over the years to implicate a unit
of UDR and Red Hand Commando members.
It also includes claims that one suspect gave information about the killing to
an RUC detective more than 10 years ago, but was told "Forget it, it's
Four men were arrested in relation to the case in 1998, but the northern DPP did
not proceed with charges.
A new private inquiry was announced by the Irish government, but has been
delayed by the retirement of the judge appointed to lead it.
The Ludlow family have insisted that only a full public inquiry, north and
south, will suffice.
They argue that the case for a public inquiry is not substantially different to
that of Pat Finucane, which the Irish government supports.
Solicitors have now asked Ms O'Loan to investigate what information the RUC
held, and when.
"We are assuming the RUC had a file as far back as 1979, but why did they
not do anything about it?" Mr Donegan said.
"Also, what was the contact between the RUC and the Gardai, and the process
by which both forces decided to do nothing? Certainly the result was that both
forces collaborated knowingly or unknowingly in protecting killers, and we want
to know why."
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