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




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 The Ludlow family's Letter to the former RUC Chief Constable.

This letter was sent to the former RUC Chief Constable Ronnie Flanagan in March 1999. The Ludlow family had previously requested in writing a meeting with Mr. Flanagan where they could discuss with him various issues raised by recent revelations of RUC involvement in the cover-up of Seamus Ludlow's murder. 

Kevin Ludlow reviewing press reports of his late brother's murder. The RUC responded to the Ludlow family's request with an invitation to the family to provide a list of questions that would be raised at such a meeting. This letter was the Ludlow family's response. The text of the letter appears here with only one name deleted for the present.

To date, apart from a brief acknowledgement (text below), which effectively put off indefinitely any meeting with the RUC Chief Constable, at least until the Northern Ireland Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had made a decision on whether, or not, to charge four Loyalist suspects for the murder of Seamus Ludlow, nothing more has been heard from the RUC. Mr Flanagan has since retired from office, having never met with the Ludlow family.

The DPP decided on 15 October 1999 that none of the four arrested suspects were to be charged, and still no adequate reply to this letter has been received and no meeting was  granted with the former Chief Constable. 

The RUC (now calling itself the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI)) - and its former Chief Constable - may wish to forget about the late Seamus Ludlow and their role in the long cover-up. However, they must know that neither the Ludlow family nor the twelve questions set out in this letter from March 1999 will quietly go away. The questions remain unanswered and justice denied, but the Ludlow family will Not let this matter rest. 

See also Jim J. Kane's letter, dated 20 May 2000, to the same RUC Chief Constable.





7 March 1999.

Dear Chief Constable,

Thank you for your letter of the 4th February 1999.

You stated in that letter could we indicate the issues we would like to discuss with you - listed below are a number of issues which we would like you to address to the Ludlow family.

Question 1.

How long after the murder of Mr. Seamus Ludlow on the 2nd May 1976 did the RUC have information on who the suspects were?

Question 2.

Did the RUC pass on this information to the Garda Special Branch in Dublin and Dundalk in 1976?

Question 3.

Two Senior Detectives of the then Garda Murder Squad travelled to Belfast in early 1979 and were given the list of suspects and other information relating to the case. Exactly, how much information was passed on and can you name the two detectives from the Garda Murder Squad?

Question 4.

What interest had the British Army in South Armagh in the case because the army called to the home of Mr. Kevin Donegan (now deceased, who lived at Dromintee), asking questions as to what line of enquiry the Gardai in Dundalk were taking. This incident happened one week after Mr. Ludlow was buried in May 1976. Mr. Donegan was a brother-in-law of Seamus Ludlow.

Question 5.

What information did one of the suspects, Paul Hosking, give to the RUC man, ****** ******, when he interviewed him in 1987?

Question 6.

Why did ****** ****** tell Paul Hosking "to forget about it, it was political"?

Question 7.

Why were four suspects - UDR/Red Hand Commando's, 80 miles (from Comber in Co Down), in Dundalk that night? Were they acting alone or were they part of a bigger operation in Dundalk that night - they certainly, did not travel 80 miles plus, to murder an innocent man - Seamus Ludlow?

Question 8.

Why, for over 23 years, was there a cover-up both sides of the Irish border by the Authorities?

Question 9.

Who was being protected in the car that night?

Question 10.

Was it the gunman?

Question 11.

Was one of the suspects in the car that night an agent for British intelligence, RUC, Special Branch  or Garda Special branch?

Question 12.

Will the RUC Officers who had this information be held accountable for their action?

The family do hope that the full facts and answers to these 12 Questions will be answered in full when we meet with you in the not too distant future.

After 23 years, it's very little to ask for.

Looking forward to hearing from you soon.


Thanking you.


Kevin Ludlow                              Jimmy Sharkey

(Brother)                                      (Nephew)


Michael Donegan



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Post Script:

This is the text of the RUC's s brief acknowledgement to the above:

                                                                                          KNOCK ROAD
                                                                                       Northern Ireland BT5 6LE

                                                                                                 14 April 1999.

Dear Sirs,

Thank you for your letter of 7 March 1999 indicating the questions you would wish to discuss with the Chief Constable.

You will appreciate I am sure that any meeting on your issues would be more appropriate after the Director of Public Prosecutions has given his decision on the investigation file currently with him.

I will communicate further with you when the DPP's decision is to hand.

Yours Sincerely,


G.W. Sillery

Chief Superintendent for Chief Constable.


Though the Ludlow family's letter of 7 March 1999 was in response to an RUC request to provide a list of questions to enable a meeting with RUC Chief Constable Ronnie Flanagan to take place, it is still unclear if any such meeting was ever intended by the RUC. 

Chief Superintendent Sillery could have brought this matter of the DPP's report to the Ludlow family's attention much earlier and surely there would have been no need at all for the Ludlow family's letter providing a list questions for the Chief Constable of the RUC. 

Neither Chief Superintendent Sillery nor his Chief Constable - who has now retired from office - have been in touch with the Ludlow family since the October 1999 announcement of the DPP's decision not to prosecute anyone involved in the murder of Seamus Ludlow. 

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Page last updated: 27/12/05 12:34:23  

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Revised: December 27, 2005 .