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, 18 February 2001:

SDLP may break with SF on policing

(by Ed Moloney)

The SDLP is close to breaking with Sinn Féin on the issue of policing and appears ready to nominate to the new Policing Board within the next fortnight if the gap between itself and the British government over outstanding reforms can be closed, according to a range of SDLP sources.

The party also appears to be confident that if it can be won over to the new policing arrangements then the Catholic hierarchy, in particular the Archbishop of Armagh, Dr Sean Brady will endorse any decision to accept seats on the board.

Last year Dr Brady publicly withheld his support for the Mandelson Police Act and indicated that he would support the planned 'Police Service of Northern Ireland' only when there was sufficient Nationalist satisfaction with the arrangements. "I've no doubt that we would get his support now if we went ahead", said one SDLP source.

With the Irish government also likely to endorse any SDLP move in this direction the pressure would then grow on the GAA to follow suit and lift the ban on members of the British security forces playing the sport, as recommended in the Patten report. This could result in the isolation of Sinn Féin on the issue and mark the most serious breach so far in the Nationalist consensus that has defined the peace process.

The key to satisfying the SDLP rests almost entirely with the British government whose officials are still engaged in discussions with the party over outstanding issues. These include ensuring the neutrality of policing symbols such as the force's flag and badge and meeting demands for inquiries into three controversies involving allegations of security force collusion, the deaths of lawyers Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson and that of Portadown man, Robert Hamill.

SDLP sources appear optimistic that these matters can be settled. The departure of Peter Mandelson has, ironically, improved the prospects of agreement on the crucial matter of neutral symbols. The former NI Secretary had given verbal assurances to the party but such was the level of distrust between them caused by his handling of the Police Bill at Westminster that the SDLP was loath to take his word. The new Northern Secretary, Dr John Reid has instilled more confidence but even so the SDLP may require that any guarantee be made public.

On the inquiries issue it seems that the SDLP may get movement on the death of Robert Hamill, who was beaten to death by a Loyalist mob in April 1997 while an RUC patrol allegedly looked on. The policing aspects of that incident are being investigated by the new Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan and it may be that a fuller inquiry could follow her probe.

It is understood that the SDLP and the British are working on a form of words to cover the possibility of some sort of inquiry into the Pat Finucane killing once the current police investigation headed by London Metropolitan Commissioner John Stevens is over. The killing of Rosemary Nelson is more problematic since so far there is no evidence of security force involvement in her death. Her killing, in a booby trap car bomb, is also being investigated by a senior English policeman and again the form of words being constructed to cover the Finucane killing could embrace this case.

One idea being canvassed is that the Finucane and Nelson deaths could be probed by a senior judge in imitation of inquiries announced by the Taoiseach last year into the Dublin and Monaghan bombs and the killing of Louth man, Seamus Ludlow.

On operational matters discussions have been going on between SDLP representatives and the RUC Chief Constable, Sir Ronnie Flanagan and are said to have made considerable progress on issues such as placing the Special Branch under the command of the CID and the closure of interrogation centres. The RUC is eager to secure SDLP support so that a new recruitment drive, aimed at Catholics, can be launched. Police morale is said to be low and absenteeism high while the number of senior officers opting for early retirement is also rising.

SDLP sources say they believe the feeling within the Nationalist community is running strongly in favour of participating in the new policing arrangements provided that their outstanding demands can be met. Party members are claiming that Sinn Féin, which is holding out for legislative change, "has completely misread the Nationalist mood" which, according to another source is strongly of the view that "the situation needs to be moved on".

The fact that many serving RUC officers are voting with their feet and Unionist politicians are expressing unease at the changes is also helping to convince Nationalists that the new policing arrangements could be to their benefit, according to SDLP members. The party leader John Hume is said to be eager to make the move while his deputy Seamus Mallon is still keeping his own counsel.

Some party strategists believe that opening up a gap between the SDLP and Sinn Féin on the issue could be advantageous during the impending British general election while also strengthening the Unionist leader David Trimble and the Good Friday Agreement. "We would fight the election on the slogan that we're the party that is looking forward and the Provos are the ones looking backwards", said one source. "I'm actually very excited by the prospect."

Meanwhile the Unionist leader David Trimble is being strongly criticised in private for allowing his senior colleague and Arts Minister, Michael McGimpsey to challenge the south Belfast MP, the Rev Martin Smyth for the Unionist nomination in the British general election. At the south Belfast selection meeting on Friday night, McGimpsey was beaten by a margin of twenty votes in circumstances which appear to represent another victory for the anti-agreement camp.

"Whoever decided this should have their heads examined", protested one Unionist. "Martin was always going to win. He's been there 19 years and everyone knew this would be his last election. Sentiment was in his favour while Michael's bid flew in the face of our no dual mandate rule. The result is that the election was decided by factors that had nothing to do with the peace process but the world believes otherwise. It makes you wonder how this party manages to function at all!"

I Homepage I I Top I Press Coverage I I Barron Inquiry I I Terms of reference for Barron Inquiry I I Fresh Inquest I

An Phoblacht/Republican News, 8 February 2001: Ludlow movement soon?

The Sunday Tribune, 18 February 2001: SDLP may break with SF on policing 

The Sunday Tribune, 15 April 2001: O'Loan asked to investigate Ludlow killing

The Irish News, 17 April 2001: RUC 'must be investigated'

An Phoblacht/Republican News, 26 April 2001: Seamus Ludlow 25th Anniversary Commemoration Thistlecross, County Louth, 4pm, 29 April

The Dundalk Democrat, 28 April 2001: Twenty-five years on and Ludlow murder remains unsolved

Ireland on Sunday, 29 April 2001: Murder probe review pledge

The Irish News, 30 April 2001: Loyalist victim is remembered

The Examiner, 1 May 2001: Ludlow family 'know name of the loyalist killer'


Copyright © 2002 the Ludlow family. All rights reserved.
Revised: August 03, 2002 .