The Murder of Seamus Ludlow in County Louth, May 1976. Towards a public inquiry?
Introduction to the murder of Seamus Ludlow and the official cover-up.
The recent Campaign for Truth and Justice.
Other Ludlow Family Sites.
The Irish News, 27 August 2002:
Loyalist victimís family call for answers
By Valerie Robinson
The family of murder victim Seamus Ludlow fear that a new inquest into his death will be hampered by the coronerís inability to compel witnesses to attend.
Louth coroner Ronan Maguire was ordered last month by the Republic's attorney general Rory Brady to hold a fresh inquest into the murder of the Dundalk forestry worker who was gunned down by a loyalist gang in 1976.
Mr Maguire, who has already written to gardai requesting the files from their investigation into the murder, has criticised the current law which does not allow a coroner to force witnesses to give evidence to an inquest. Under the legislation, which dates back to 1962, a coroner can issue a summons but cannot compel anyone to attend the hearing - even if they are living in the state.
Mr Maguire described the situation as "deeply unsatisfactory".
It is already likely that the coroner will not be able to question potentially important RUC and British army witnesses because people based in Northern Ireland cannot be compelled to attend inquests in the Republic.
The coroner told the Irish News that border counties were particularly affected by the failure of Northern Ireland witnesses to turn up to inquests south of the border.
"There have been quite a few occasions in border counties where we've experienced problems. But at the moment it's simply a matter that we can do nothing about", he said.
The minister for justice, Michael McDowell, has already instructed his officials to review the 1962 Coroners Act.
A spokesman for the minister said the proposed Coroners (Amendment) Bill would seek to "significantly increase the penalty, on summary conviction, for the failure to respond to a summons to appear as a witness at an inquest".
Under the bill, a coroner would also have the power to apply to the High Court to compel witness and document production. The legislation, however, is not expected to be introduced until after the Ludlow inquest has taken place.
But Seamus Ludlow's nephew Michael Donegan said last night the family feared the new inquest would be "a waste of time" if key Garda and RUC witnesses are not obliged to attend.
"I've only just become aware of the situation and I find it very worrying. There are a lot of people that we would like to see at the inquest including gardai, forensics people and the state pathologist. They all have questions to answer," he said.
New evidence suggests that Mr Ludlow, who died after leaving a Dundalk pub, was murdered by loyalists with UDR links. It has been alleged that gardai and the RUC worked together to shield the killers who included a British agent.
"We need to know what happened in 1976. My mother Kathleen, who is in her seventies and was Uncle Seamus' sister, has been very ill in recent times. For her sake and the rest of the family's we want the whole thing settled now," Mr Donegan said.
The Irish Independent, 19 July 2002: Fresh inquest into death of murdered man
The Irish News, 19 July 2002: Family welcome inquest 26 years after murder
The Irish Times, 19 July 2002: New inquest ordered into Louth man's death
The Dundalk Democrat, 20 July 2002: Second inquest to be held into the death of Seamus Ludlow
The Sunday Life, 28 July 2002: Inquest to name Ludlow killers
The Irish Examiner Online - Breaking News, 29 July 2002: Call for public inquiry into 1976 murder
Ulster Television (UTV), online 29 July 2002: Celtic League in demand over murder
The Examiner, 30 July 2002: Ludlow killers to be named
The Irish News, 6 August 2002: Celtic League to fight on for murder inquiry
The Argus (Dundalk), 23 August 2002: Coroner wants the law changed to compel witnesses to attend inquests
© 2002 the Ludlow family. All rights reserved.