by Margaret Roddy
Barron Inquiry has, for the first time, publicly named the four men
suspected of killing Seamus Ludlow.
report highlights how the names of the four, Paul Hosking, William Long,
Samuel Carroll, and a then UDR corporal, James Reid Fitzsimmons, were
given to the Gardai as far back as 1977.
at the time of the 47 year old forestry worker’s death in May 1976,
the finger of blame was pointed at the IRA and rumours began to
circulate that he had been an informer.
Jimmy Sharkey, a nephew of the murdered man, says that at one time, he
himself was regarded as a suspect as were other family members.
believes that the political climate of the time made it easy for the IRA
to be blamed for the murder.
IRA were seen as the enemy of the State while loyalists weren’t
regarded as threat, especially down here.”
was only in 1995 that the family learned that the Gardai had been aware
all along of the identity of the killers.
Joe Tiernan contacted them in 1995 and informed them that he had been
told by Det Sergt. that Seamus had been the victim of a loyalist gang.
says that the family accept that Seamus had simply been in the wrong
place at the wrong time when he was abducted by his killers as he made
his way home from Dundalk.
accept that it was a random sectarian killing. This gang of loyalists
had gone to Dundalk that night on a mission and would have psyched
themselves up for days on end, They were looking for someone and when
they didn’t find him, they were not going to go home empty handed. To
kill someone in the south would have been seen as an act of bravado when
they got back to Belfast.”
says that despite the fact the Gardai knew the identity of his uncle’s
killers, the investigation just stopped in its tracks.
some of family members initially believed that the IRA were to blame, he
says that he himself suspected that it was either the SAS or loyalists.
had wondered if perhaps he heard or saw something in the woods, which
would have been a plausible explanation.”
suspicions were confirmed by journalist Joe Tiernan and it was then that
the family began their long battle to establish how Seamus was killed.
it hadn’t been for the support of journalists like Joe and Ed Moloney
and the local media, we would never have got as far as we have,” says
is delighted that the report refutes once and for all the allegation
that his uncle had been killed by the IRA as an informer.
was a rumour which was started by a Garda and Seamus wasn’t at all
involved in politics although he did support Fine Gael,” he says.
says that one thing which struck him when reading through the report was
the detailed maps provided by two of the loyalists named as the suspects
for his uncle’s murder.
of the maps in particular is very detailed and one can’t help
wondering if the men were brought back to the area by the police at
a later date.”