The Murder of Seamus Ludlow in County Louth, May 1976. Towards a public inquiry?







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, 23 May 1999:

Cabinet to decide on Ludlow inquiry

Ed Moloney

Northern Editor

The government is coming under increasing pressure to establish a public judicial inquiry into the 1976 Loyalist killing of Dundalk man Seamus Ludlow in order to fully probe allegations that the security forces colluded across the Border to stifle police investigations into the death.

Government sources have confirmed newspaper reports last week that the cabinet will meet “within weeks” to decide the type and terms of reference for the fresh inquiry amid suggestions that the probe might concentrate on events after 1979 when the Gardai were officially informed by the RUC of the identities of the alleged perpetrators, a joint UDR-Red Hand Commando gang.

If the inquiry goes ahead it will the first ever to be held into the Gardai’s handling of Northern Troubles-related activity and may have wider implications for policing in the Republic.

Both the Ludlow family and the human rights group, British-Irish Rights Watch (BIRW) have written to the Taoiseach asking that the inquiry be given the widest possible powers. Jimmy Sharkey, a nephew of the dead man, said he wanted to see a Flood or Moriarty-style tribunal set up.

“An independent, public inquiry dealing with all aspects of the case going back to 1976 up to the present day and into the behaviour of the Gardai and RUC in 1976 is what we want”, he said. “We want to know when was the information about the killers given and how long after the murder and why wasn’t it acted upon.”

BIRW director, Jane Winter said that the terms of reference must be drawn widely to consider both the murder and any cover-up. She added: “The family should also be allowed legal representation and if necessary legal aid to participate in the inquiry. We welcome the news, but this has got to be the right kind of inquiry”.

Seamus Ludlow was killed in May 1976 in circumstances that remained a mystery for over 20 years. Both the IRA and British Army were falsely blamed and it was only last March, following a Sunday Tribune report, that the truth emerged. This was that Ludlow had been picked out, probably at random, by a gang of UDR and Red Hand Commando Loyalists who had driven over the Border apparently in search of victims.

A fresh Garda inquiry into the 1976 police investigation concluded that although the names of the suspects had been given to Garda detectives by their counterparts in Belfast the information was not acted upon. It is because of this that the government is now considering a fresh inquiry.

The report, presented by Chief Superintendent Ted Murphy, is believed to have concluded that it was as late as 1979 that this happened but this is disputed by Ludlow family sources.

Four aspects of the original Garda investigation has led them to suspect that it was the 1976 not 1979 probe that was flawed:

The fact that Gardai blamed the IRA for the killing allegedly because Seamus Ludlow was an informer and despite strenuous denial from the group;

The fact that the Gardai divided the Ludlow family, and blunted their determination to discover the truth, by telling separate members that other family members had known about the planned killing beforehand and had possibly betrayed Ludlow to the IRA;

The fact that the investigation was wound up suddenly and without explanation after only three weeks;

The fact that one of the men present when Seamus Ludlow was killed, Paul Hosking from Co Down, alleged last March that when he told the RUC Special Branch all about the killing in 1987 he was told to forget the case as it was “political”.

These have combined to feed suspicion that the Seamus Ludlow investigation was obstructed to protect a British intelligence agent amongst one of the gunmen. Four men were arrested by the RUC last year and their files are now with the North’s Director of Public Prosecutions awaiting decision.

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