Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell has apologised to
the family of the late Seamus Ludlow for the way they were treated by
the state, but has cast doubt on the possibility of a public inquiry
into his murder.
family of Mr Ludlow, a single man and forestry worker, who was shot dead
on May 2nd, 1976, at Thistle Cross as he went home after a night out,
have been campaigning for such an inquiry to be held.
the Minister at the Joint Oireachtas sub-committee on Justice, which is
considering the Barron report into his murder, stated there were serious
constitutional issues about setting up an inquiry to effectively mimic a
criminal trial 30 years after the crime.
Barron report has sharply criticised the garda investigation into his
death, noting that the RUC told the gardaí in 1979 that it believed
four named loyalists were involved in the murder, but this line of
investigation wasn’t pursued.
also found that the deceased had no connection with any subversive
Ed Maloney, who in 1998 wrote about the murder in the Sunday Tribune and
interviewed a suspect, told the committee last Wednesday that he
disagreed with the Minister, and called for a public inquiry to make
recompense to the family.
Francis Keenan, who attended with Mr Moloney, revealed that an unnamed
client would be willing to give evidence at an independent judicial
the Minister said serious constitutional difficulties would surround a
public inquiry to establish whether someone did or did not commit a
crime 10, 20, 30 years earlier.
If the committee came to the conclusion that the (Garda) investigation
was an unsatisfactory investigation, it still doesn't follow that it
would be lawful for the state to establish an inquiry," said the
fact that the DPP in Northern Ireland was right in 1999 to say there was
insufficient evidence to charge the four suspects, with which the DPP in
the state concurred, added to the constitutional issues which the
tribunal would have to contend with, said the Minister.
added that the Ludlow case was 'not closed', saying that gardai would
still interview suspects in relation to the murder.
Mr Moloney contended that the family had been treated abominably.
full public inquiry would only begin to make recompense. I do not agree
with the Minister. It flies in the face of his own Government policy to
support the Bloody Sunday inquiry and that was 30 years later. The
Government supported that, so why not this?"
Moloney said it was not the job of a public inquiry to try the suspects
but to inquire into whether the state fell down in its duty in
investigating the murder.
question had to be asked, no matter how awkward or embarrassing. Was one
of the killers a loyalist paramilitary, an agent of British
intelligence, and was it covered up by the RUC and the gardai, he said.
interviewed one of the four suspects. He wasn't at liberty to describe
details, but he would tell a public inquiry.
Keenan said, "I have received instructions from another client,
who, for obvious reasons I cannot name, that in the event of an
independent, judicial inquiry and he is satisfied with the guarantees
offered to him, would be willing to appear and give evidence."