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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The Sunday Independent, 20 September 1998

Joe Tiernan:

Gardai have reopened 20-year-old murder case

Two former senior garda officers who led the investigation into the murder of a Dundalk man over 20 years ago have been interviewed by detectives from Garda headquarters in Dublin, who have reopened the case.

Det Chief Superintendent John Courtney, who headed the murder squad in the Seventies and early Eighties, and former Special Branch Det Sgt. Owen Corrigan, who was based in Dundalk at the time, have been interviewed within the past fortnight about the investigation into the murder of forestry worker Seamus Ludlow, shot dead by loyalists in May 1976.

Both men are now retired.

The 47-year-old single man's body was found in a ditch on a Sunday morning in an isolated lane two miles north of Dundalk following a night out in the town the previous night.

No-one was ever charged with the murder and the case became one of the unsolved mysteries of the Northern troubles.

The original investigation - carried out by the murder squad headed by Supt. Courtney as he then was - failed  to find the culprits. However, according for information now in the hands of the Ludlow family, in 1987 - 11 years after the murder - a member of the gang involved revealed the full story of how Mr Ludlow was murdered to RUC detectives. For whatever reason, this information does not appear to have been passed on to the gardai.

Chief Supt Courtney, who was credited with a string of successes during his long and distinguished career in the Murder Squad, is best remembered for his investigations into some of the most celebrated cases in recent Garda history, most notably the murders of Capt. Robert Nairac in 1977, Nurse Bridie Gargan in the Phoenix Park in the early Eighties, and perhaps the most controversial of all, the investigation into what became known as the Kerry Babies Case in 1984.

Det Sgt Owen Corrigan, while a lesser known figure, will be remembered by many as the Garda officer who appeared on television handing over Dominic McGlinchey to the RUC at the border, following the decision to extradite him to Northern Ireland by the then Chief Justice Tom O'Higgins in 1984. McGlinchey was the first person ever to be extradited from the South to the North.

For the past two years, the family of Seamus Ludlow - who was not associated with any paramilitary organization - have been campaigning for the case to be reopened, and for those responsible to be brought to justice.

In a letter to the then Garda Commissioner Patrick Culligan, on the 20th anniversary of the murder, the family demanded that the case be reopened and that those responsible be arrested and put on trial.

Shortly afterwards, detectives from Harcourt Square under the direction of Det Chief Superintendent Ted Murphy, reopened the case and began interviewing witnesses.

Statements have now been taken from most of the original witnesses, and the coroner Dr Scully, a local practitioner who presided over the inquest at the time, have also been interviewed.

Gardai have been liaising with the RUC and detectives from Dublin have visited RUC headquarters in Belfast a number of times over the past year. It is understood a new and extensive file has been put together by both forces and it is now in the possession of the RUC.

Gardai refused to discuss the case this weekend save to say that a "wide ranging investigation into the reopened case has been undertaken and the file remains open".

However, a spokesman for the family, James Sharkey, who is a nephew of the murdered man, said gardai have told the family that the file - with the names and details of those suspected of involvement - will shortly be sent to the Northern Ireland DPP.


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