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 Tribune, 12 December 1999:

O'Donoghue to consider 'Public' inquiry into Ludlow murder

By Ed Moloney

The Minister for Justice, John O'Donoghue has agreed to consider releasing a secret internal Garda report into the killing twenty-five years ago of Seamus Ludlow, the Co Louth man whose death at the hands of a Loyalist gang has been at the centre of allegations of a British and Irish government cover up.

The Minister has also indicated that he now has an open mind on whether or not to reverse an earlier government decision to hold only a private inquiry into the May 1976 Ludlow killing and instead have a public hearing into the case.

O'Donoghue gave the undertakings at a meeting in Dublin last Wednesday with members of the Ludlow family, their legal representative and Jane Winter, the director of the human rights group, British-Irish Rights Watch.

The meeting, described by one source as "difficult", ended with O'Donoghue asking the Ludlow family to make a submission to him outlining the reasons why the inquiry should be public and agreeing to consider a family request to see a secret Garda report on the killing.

The report by Chief Superintendent Ted Murphy was into the original Garda handling of the murder back in 1976 and in subsequent years. Although it has never been made public the Murphy report is believed to have confirmed that the security authorities in Dublin were aware of the identities of the killers not long after it took place but took no action.

One of the suspected killers was a notorious gunman for the Red Hand Commandos in the north County Down area who recently admitted in a TV3 documentary that he had been an agent for the Northern security forces. This adds weight to suspicions that the inaction in the Ludlow case may have been motivated by a British desire, shared in Dublin, to protect a valuable intelligence asset.

Seamus Ludlow, a 47 year old forestry worker, was shot dead in mysterious circumstances near his home on the outskirts of Dundalk on May 1st, 1976. Local Garda Special Branch officers and detectives from the Murder Squad in Dublin initially accused the IRA of responsibility although the organisation strongly denied this.

The investigation was quietly wound down within weeks and for over twenty years the Ludlow killing stayed on the unsolved list as one of the most puzzling killings of the Troubles. Eighteen months ago however the case was re-opened when the RUC arrested four men and questioned them about the killing.

One of them, Paul Hosking from Newtownards later told the Sunday Tribune that Ludlow had been shot dead minutes after hitching a lift in a car in which he was a passenger. He claimed he was an unwitting part of the killing and that in 1987 he told an RUC Special Branch officer the full story. He had expected to be charged but instead was told to "forget it" as the case was political.

The North's Director of Public Prosecutions recently ruled against bringing charges against Hosking or the other three suspects. Following that the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern announced that there would be a private inquiry in to the killing but this decision brought angry protests from the Ludlow family who pointed out that the government had asked the British authorities for a full pubic judicial hearing into the murder of Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane.

I Homepage I I Top I I Press Coverage I

The Sunday Tribune, Sunday 17 October 1999, by Ed Moloney: North's DPP has decided not to charge Loyalists arrested in connection with Ludlow killing

The Irish Times,  20 October 1999: DPP decides against Ludlow case charges

The Irish News, 20 October 1999: Relatives reject "cover-up" inquiry

The Irish News, 21 October 1999: SF calls for inquiry into '76 murder

An Phoblacht/Republican News, 21 October 1999: No prosecutions in Ludlow case Call on Taoiseach to revise decision on 'private' inquiry

The Argus, 22 October 1999: RUC decide not to prosecute the men who admit to the murder

The Dundalk Democrat, 23 October 1999: No prosecution in Ludlow murder

An Phoblacht/Republican News, 4 November 1999: Taoiseach to "reassess'' Ludlow case

The Dundalk Democrat, 6 November 1999: TD's questions about Ludlow case

The Irish Independent, 8 November 1999: Wilson supports extradition of four


Last Edited : 16 March 2002