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

 

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The Irish Times, 5 November 2005:

Wren rejects claim on role in Ludlow inquiry

Martin Wall

The former Garda commissioner Laurence Wren has said there is not a scintilla of evidence to support the findings of the Baron inquiry that he probably made the decision not to pursue the questioning in Northern Ireland of those suspected of the murder of forestry worker Seamus Ludlow.

The report of the inquiry carried out for the Government by Mr Justice Henry Barron into the murder of Mr Ludlow near Dundalk in 1976 was published on Thursday.

Mr Wren told The Irish Times yesterday he rejected the finding of the report regarding himself.

The report said the decision not to pursue information offered by the RUC about the possible killers was most probably taken by Mr Wren, who was then deputy Garda commissioner in the crime and security branch, known as C3.

It said he was likely to have discussed the issue with other senior officers and senior officials of the Department of Justice.

The report suggested that the decision was taken to avoid a situation in which gardai might feel obliged to reciprocate and allow RUC officers to attend the interviews of suspects in this State.

Mr Wren said yesterday he believed the statement to the Barron inquiry by former commissioner Pat Byrne that senior Garda management were responsible for failures in relation to the investigation did not include him.

He said he had nothing to do with the investigation - C3 was not an investigative unit and responsibility for the investigation was a matter for local officers on the ground and the crime (ordinary) branch at headquarters.

Mr Wren said the report contained allegations by a Garda superintendent involved in the investigation that he had been told by a detective sergeant in C3 that there was a decision that no further action should be taken in relation to interviewing the murder suspects in the North.

Mr Wren said this appeared to be a curious way for the superintendent to seek an important decision, as he could have approached his own superior officers on the issue.

Mr Wren said it also appeared that the detective sergeant concerned had no recollection of any such conversation with the superintendent.

He said that no evidence had been set out in the report to back up the finding that he had probably made the decision not to pursue the information offered by the RUC about the murder suspects.

Mr Wren said there was a policy directive signed by an assistant commissioner, dating back to the 1950s, which set out that in political cases gardai were not to cross the Border.

He said this policy was supported by two former ministers for justice in the Barron report.

Mr Wren said that there was never any objection to gardai writing to outside forces, including the RUC, asking them to interview people on their behalf. he said that the gardai would do the same for other police forces.

However, Mr Wren said that the "question of going into another area and they coming into ours did not arise".

He said he did not remember the Ludlow murder and did not recall hearing anything about suspects until he went before judge Barron.

I Top I I Barron Report is Published I

See also:

The Irish Independent, 5 November 20095: Garda chief vows to clear his name in Ludlow probe inquiry

The Irish Examiner, 5 November 2005: Wren rejects claims of links to Ludlow case

I Top

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Revised: November 24, 2005