THE family of an Irish
farmer murdered by the IRA have broken a ten-year silence to
denounce Sinn Fein one week before a former republican prisoner is
expected to win a seat in their constituency in the Irish general
Eugene Oliver, who was 13 when his father, Tom,
was abducted, tortured and shot as an alleged informer in July
1991, called on Sinn Fein yesterday to answer questions about the
killing and to admit that it should never have taken place.
His challenge to Arthur Morgan, the Sinn Fein
candidate for Co Louth, threatened to overshadow a poll in the
Dundalk-based Argus newspaper, which predicted that Mr
Morgan would be elected comfortably to the constituency in next
With Sinn Fein scenting the possibility of at
least four seats, giving them an outside chance of a role in the
Irish Republic’s next coalition government, the reminder of Mr
Oliver’s controversial murder has the potential to cause serious
trouble for Mr Morgan.
It is nearly 11 years since Mr Oliver was
killed but his murder continues to generate strong emotions in Co
Louth, traditionally a hotbed of extreme Irish republicanism.
The community was shocked when the popular
father of seven was abducted and questioned about information that
he had allegedly passed to Irish police. He was given a beating so
severe that a priest who saw his bloodied corpse believed that
concrete blocks had been dropped on every bone in his body.
Mr Oliver was stripped, dressed in standard IRA
execution costume — a boiler-suit — and shot six times in the
head before being dumped over the border in South Armagh.
The murder provoked a wave of revulsion in Co
Louth and in the isolated Cooley peninsula where Mr Oliver’s
friends and neighbours dismissed claims that he was an informer.
They said thay he had been killed because he had complained about
the IRA stashing weapons in a field he rented.
For years, farmers in Cooley had silently
tolerated the IRA’s use of their land as a sanctuary to hide
weapons and equipment.
In a letter to the Argus newspaper,
Eugene Oliver contrasted Sinn Fein’s silence over his father’s
murder with its demands for a public inquiry into the 1976
shooting of Seamus Ludlow, another local man, whose killers are
alleged to have included a loyalist double agent.
“With the general election on top of us, it
is time to ask Sinn Fein candidate Arthur Morgan a number of
questions,” Mr Oliver said. “For the past few years, Sinn Fein
has been campaigning for a judicial inquiry into the brutal murder
of a local man, Seamus Ludlow. Arthur Morgan is rightly
encouraging people to assist in every possible way to bring Seamus
Ludlow’s killers to justice.”
He added: “What does Mr Morgan, as the Sinn
Fein candidate, have to say about another cowardly, local, brutal,
kidnapping and murder — that of my father, Tom Oliver? “What
is the difference between the murders of Seamus Ludlow and Tom
Oliver? “Sinn Fein recently celebrated 30 years of the
‘greatest guerrilla army in the world’ and presented
distinguished service awards to the families of volunteers who
“Does Arthur Morgan have anything to say to
my mother, my six sisters and myself who were widowed and left
fatherless by that brave army?” Mr Morgan, who spent seven years
in the Maze Prison at the height of the Troubles, said yesterday
that Mr Oliver’s death was a “matter of deep regret” but
refused to accept that there were still questions to be answered
about the murder.
He is expected to poll 15 per cent of the vote
in the constituency, according to a poll conducted for the Argus,
giving him the second of four local seats and securing an
unexpected success for Sinn Fein.
He is expected to join at least three other
Sinn Fein deputies in the Irish Parliament, including Martin
Ferris, a convicted IRA gun runner who is expected to be elected
in North Kerry.
“In relation to Seamus Ludlow, who was
murdered by Ulster Defence Regiment soldiers on May 1, 1976, we
have supported a public inquiry into this case as there are many
questions that remain unanswered,” Mr Morgan said.
“This is not the case with Tom Oliver. The
IRA admitted that they killed him and their reasons why.”
One of those originally questioned in
connection with Mr Oliver’s murder was Michael McDonald, also
from the Cooley peninsula.
He was one of three members of the Real IRA
each sentenced to 30 years in prison this week after admitting to
travelling to Slovakia in an attempt to obtain detonators,
rocket-propelled grenades, handguns, rifles and a guided missile.
The Argus, 10 May 2002: Oliver
family now seeking answers from SF candidate
Homepage I I Top
I I Barron
Inquiry I I Terms of reference for Barron
Inquiry I I Latest I I Press
Last Edited : 10 May 2002
© 2002 the Ludlow family. All rights reserved.
Revised: May 10, 2002