The sister of Seamus Ludlow, a Dundalk forestry worker shot dead in 1976,
has said she fears she will die before the truth about her brother's murder is
Kathleen Donegan (73), from Dromintee in south Armagh, was rushed to Daisy
Hill Hospital in Newry on Tuesday after she fell and broke her hip.
Since then, she has contracted several life-threatening infections. She was
transferred yesterday (Friday) morning to the Royal Victoria Hospital in
Belfast for surgery.
From her hospital bed, Mrs Donegan, who has two surviving sisters and a
brother, told relatives she wanted to see a public inquiry into Mr Ludlow's
death before she died.
"I think my mother has been through enough," her daughter Anne
"She has had a terrible year – she has been in and out of hospital
for months – but this week has been one of the worst times for her. She has
been in a lot of pain and we just wanted to see her get the operation and get
"The nurses and doctors in Daisy Hill and the Royal have been
brilliant, but being in hospital for so long has left her very weak and
vulnerable to infection. The one thing she said to us was that she wanted to
be around for the truth to come out about my Uncle Seamus's murder."
Mr Ludlow, a bachelor, was walking home from a pub outside Dundalk in May
1976 when he was bundled into a car by loyalists, two of whom are alleged to
have been members of the UDR. His body was found in a laneway near his home.
He was not involved in any political activity, but in the weeks after his
murder his family alleged gardai spread rumours that the IRA killed him
because he was an informer.
The claim was strenuously denied by republicans and the victim's family.
Mr Justice Barron, who published a report for the Irish government into the
Dublin and Monaghan bombings earlier this year, is currently examining the
case. Relatives of Mr Ludlow met the former judge last month and were told
that the findings would be ready by the end of September.
Michael Donegan, who has long campaigned for a public inquiry into his
uncle's murder, said the family had been waiting almost 30 years for justice.
"We are still waiting for a fresh inquest to be opened in Dundalk. It
was announced in July 2002 and it still hasn't opened," he said.
"We met Justice Barron just over a month ago. In fact we have seen him
several times in Dundalk and Dublin.
"The family's main focus remains getting a public inquiry. I don't
know if Barron is going to recommend one, or if it is even in his power to do
so, but we will keep pushing for that. It has been an awful long wait and the
truth is that time is running out for my mother and her siblings."