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







3 July 2002 - The Irish Attorney General has directed the Coroner for County Louth to hold a fresh inquest into the death of Seamus Ludlow.  . . . . Please return for updates and important developments.    This photograph of Seamus Ludlow was taken later in his life.This is a youthful photograph of Seamus Ludlow, taken several years before his murder.This memorial stone marks the place where the dead body of Seamus Ludlow was discovered on Sunday 2nd. May, 1976. This new stone recently replaced another stone.




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Latest: 8 December 1999, Louth County Council gave unanimous support to the Ludlow family's demand for a public inquiry into the May 1976 murder of Seamus Ludlow near Dundalk. . .11 August 2000, The Ludlow family is saddened to hear of the death of their dear friend and supporter Councillor Miceal O'Donnell, a member of Louth County Council.....3 July 2002 - The Irish Attorney General Rory Brady directed the coronrer for County Louth to hold a fresh inquest into the death of Seamus Ludlow

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Updated: 11/11/03

Pictured above is Seamus Ludlow, aged 47 years, a Catholic resident of Thistlecross, Mountpleasant, north of Dundalk, in County Louth, Ireland. Seamus  was abducted and murdered by British Army Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) "soldiers" and Red Hand Commando gunmen from North Down as he walked home from a Dundalk public house, south of the Irish border,  around midnight on 1st/2nd May 1976.

The innocent victim of sectarian killers was later smeared by the authorities who spent more than twenty years concealing and protecting the identity of the Loyalist murderers.

The killers who were known to the Gardai and the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) in 1979, if not before, were never brought to justice. They were briefly arrested in February 1998, but they were released without charge, pending the Northern Ireland DPP's consideration of an RUC investigation file. On 15 October 1999 the Director of Public Prosecution's (DPP) office informed the Ludlow family that none of the four prime suspects were to be charged, even though two of them had signed statements while in RUC custody - and one of them has taken his story to the press.


Louth County Council Supports The Ludlow Family.

Featured below is a report from the local Dundalk Democrat newspaper, 25 December 1999, which records a recent meeting for the family of Seamus Ludlow with the members of Louth County Council, Jimmy Sharkey, a nephew of Seamus Ludlow, addressed a meeting of Louth County Council at the County Hall, Dundalk. The Louth County Council gave its support to the Ludlow family's demand for a public, rather than a private, inquiry into the murder of Seamus Ludlow. The Ludlow family appreciates this support from the local elected body.

Foremost among the Ludlow family's supporters was Councillor Miceal O'Donnell, who sadly passed away on 11 August 2000.


Support From County Council For Public Enquiry Into Ludlow Murder

Louth County Council unanimously supported the motion calling for an independent public enquiry into the murder of Seamus Ludlow, while the Irish Government were attacked by some member () a "possible collusion and cover-up" at Monday's meeting in the County Hall, Dundalk, writes Brenda Woods.

The Cllrs. also called for the murder of the Mountpleasant man, in May, 1976, at Thistlecross, to be brought to the attention of the General Council of County Councils while local T.D.'s will be asked to lobby for a Public Enquiry.

Cllrs. attacked the Government's decision recently to pursue a private enquiry, with the findings to be made public at a later stage.


The deputation on behalf of the family of the late Mr. Ludlow was led by his nephew Mr. Jimmy Sharkey, who criticised the Irish Government's handling of the matter.

Cllr. Tommy Reilly put forward the motion, which was seconded by Cllr.. Michael O'Donnell.

Mr. Sharkey said the Irish Government were "dragging their heels" on the issue.

"Is there a possible collusion and a cover-up," he asked. "My family feels this".

Double Standards

Mr. Sharkey also attacked the Irish Government for operating what he claimed was a "double standard" when it came to public enquiries. He mentioned the Irish government's call for a public enquiry into Bloody Sunday and the Rosemary Nelson death.

"Why call for a public enquiry in these cases and a private one here in ours?", added Mr. Sharkey.

"It is very important for us that we get the truth", he said, "we are looking for the truth. for a long time we have been treated like dirt."

No help

"We got no help from the Government or the gardai. Only the family worked very hard on this. After twenty-three years it is not a lot to ask for".

Mr. Sharkey also attacked the gardai saying "We were misled by them for twenty-three years."

"Kevin Ludlow, brother of Seamus, was assured he would be told who did the murder. There was so many lies told. It was probably due to the political climate at the time. Other people who had people killed down here were told lies. We must move on and not dwell on the past too much."

Mr. Sharkey stressed that, after twenty-three years, it was very important that they would receive a fair hearing from the Irish government.


He explained how on 29th September this year the Taoiseach during the Dail questions time said there would be a private enquiry into the murder but the findings would not be published. The reason given that the D.P.P. in the north had not made a decision on whether to prosecute four men alleged to have committed the murder. On 15th October the D.P.P. made a decision not to proceed.

"For these years we have been very badly treated by the state", he continued: "as far back as 1979 the gardai had a list of four suspects and we have been told during the years of other people who were involved and even given their names."

Mr. Sharkey stated they felt the family would not get justice in Northern Ireland as he claimed the D.P.P. there had a "bad track record".


Their meeting on 8th December with the Minister for Justice was Hostile". "The Minister did not want to do business with us", said Mr. Sharkey "he was very cold with us. This has affected Kevin (Ludlow) badly. He has taken it worse than anyone else."

Cllr. Reilly called the proposed enquiry "another white-wash". "It is sad that after these years the family are still looking for justice", he said. The Cllr. could not see why extradition proceedings could not be served on the suspects involved.

"I can't think why some people would have taken this unfortunate man at the side of the road, just taken him and shot him. You couldn't do this this to a dog", he said. "For too long as it has been the policy of the British Government that we are being used for target practice or something else".

Not Garda Bashing

Cllr. Michael O'Donnell said the "Mentality" of the seventies was still here today. He was not "garda bashing" but he wanted to "get rid of the rotten apples in the barrel." These men now have pensions funded by the State. The gardai said they would represent the family and they told blatant lies. This has to be taken into account".

"A man's life was taken and the only sin was that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Ludlows must have all the information they need."

Cllr. O'Donnell said Mr. Ludlow was a neighbour of his and on the Saturday night before his murder he was sitting in his kitchen, teaching his children to play cards. "That was the simple kind of man that he was", he added.

Cllr Arthur Morgan queried if the gardai involved were still dispensing "injustice", or if retired, would they have some sanctions taken away such as their pensions?

Cllr. Frank Godfrey said there were still many questions unanswered like in the case of the Dundalk and Dublin bombings. "The people of County Louth will not be happy until this Ludlow murder is resolved", he said.

The Cllr. suggested sending a deputation to the Minister for Justice on behalf of the families and that they should consider taking the matter to the European Court.

Cllrs. Nicky McCabe, Terry Brennan, Mary Grehan, Sean Collins, Jim D'Arcy and Patsy Kirwin also called for a Public Enquiry.

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Revised: November 11, 2003 .