Tribune, 12 December 1999:
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Sunday 17 October 1999, by Ed Moloney: North's
DPP has decided not to charge Loyalists arrested in connection with Ludlow
Irish Times, 20 October 1999: DPP decides
against Ludlow case charges
Irish News, 20 October 1999: Relatives reject
Irish News, 21 October 1999: SF calls for
inquiry into '76 murder
Phoblacht/Republican News, 21 October 1999: No
prosecutions in Ludlow case Call on Taoiseach to revise decision on 'private'
Argus, 22 October 1999: RUC
decide not to prosecute the men who admit to the murder
Democrat, 23 October 1999: No
prosecution in Ludlow murder
News, 4 November 1999: Taoiseach to "reassess''
Dundalk Democrat, 6 November 1999: TD's
questions about Ludlow case
Irish Independent, 8 November 1999: Wilson
supports extradition of four
Last Edited : 16 March 2002