The Murder of Seamus Ludlow in County Louth, May 1976. Towards a public inquiry?
29 March 2006:
TO CONSIDER THEIR POSITION
The family are pleased to note that the joint committee on the Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights conclude that the family have been treated in an appalling manner.
It is clear that the Committee remain deeply troubled by the many unanswered questions in the case. Indeed the Committee have identified 11 key issues which require investigation. The Family welcome the acknowledgement that there are issues of major public importance that remain to be investigated satisfactorily.
However the Family do not feel that the recommendation by the Committee that a commission of investigation be established is the correct one.
There are critical differences between a public Inquiry and the form of commission that is being recommended chief among those differences are that the work of a public Inquiry is open and transparant and all members of society can observe what transpires. It was striking that in the public hearings before the Committee major conflicts in events emerged to the public eye but of course the Committee were powerless to adjudicate on them. These conflicts are a source of significant public concern and the investigation of them should be conducted in public and not in private. The issues identified by the Committee as requiring further investigation focus on the discharge of the duties of public office in various quarters. These are we believe uniquely matters suited to public Inquiry.
A second significant issue is that in a public inquiry the Family would have a fully accredited role to play in seeing the evidence being given at first hand and testing it by cross examination where necessary the family could make informed submissions based on the possession of the same facts as the tribunal.
Public enquiries uniquely enjoy the confidence of the wider community in a way that private enquiries do not.
This very point was acknowledged by all parties when passing the Dail resolution on 8th March 2006 calling for "the immediate establishment of a full, independent public judicial Inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane, as recommended by Judge Cory, which would enjoy the full cooperation of the Family and the wider community throughout Ireland and abroad".
The Ludlow/Sharkey family believe this is the correct test and is the route that should have been recommended by the committee. It is acknowledged that a Commission of investigation has the power to recommend the holding of a tribunal of Inquiry but the family believe that this step should be taken now in the interest of speed and in recognition of the age profile of the family and all that they have suffered in almost 30 years.
The family are concerned also that it is on the record of the Committee's proceedings that some valuable sources of evidence are only prepared to cooperate with a full public Inquiry and that this vital evidence may not be available to any more limited investigation.
Accordingly the family are considering their position as to whether they should participate in a commission of investigation with a view to securing a full public Inquiry or alternatively pursue other avenues.
Disappointing though these recommendations are they will not deter the family in the pursuit of justice.
Further information James McGuill 087 2561772
Find below links to excerpts of the transcript from the first day of hearings before the Oireachtas Sub-Committee on Justice:
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SUPPORT THE SEAMUS LUDLOW APPEAL FUNDBank of Ireland 78 Clanbrassil Street Dundalk County Louth Ireland
Account No. 70037984