The BIRW Report - Witness Account - Ludlow Family Account - Ed Moloney Radio Interview - The Barron Inquiry - Terms of reference - 25th Anniversary - Profile - Questions - Photographs - Fresh Inquest - Magill article 1999 - Press Coverage - Barron Report is Published - Download the Barron Report from the Oireachtas website (pdf file) - Download the Final Oireachtas Sub-Committee Report on the murder of Seamus Ludlow from the Oireachtas website (pdf file)
The Barron Inquiry into Seamus Ludlow's Death
Although the Ludlow family had initially refused to accept the Irish government's proposal of a private inquiry under Mr Justice Liam Hamilton to investigate the murder of their relative Seamus Ludlow, subsequent legal advice forced the family to review its position.
Thus, it came to pass that the Ludlow family agreed to cooperate with the private inquiry, now led by Mr Justice Henry Barron, while still calling for a public inquiry. Mr Justice Barron passed away in February 2010, aged 83. His report on the murder of Seamus Ludlow was published 3 November 2005.
The Irish government had vain hopes that the Ludlow family would accept the ongoing private Hamilton Inquiry (conducted since October 2000 by the former Irish Supreme Court judge Henry Barron), into the Dublin, Monaghan and Dundalk bombings. It was something less than the public inquiry that has been demanded, but this private option has been rejected.
The then Irish Minister for Justice, Mr. John O'Donoghue, formally recommended the private Barron Inquiry with a follow-up public Joint Oirachtas Committee hearing, to the Ludlow family, when they met him in Dublin on 23 May 2001. The Ludlow family rejected his proposals outright.
They could have no confidence in any inquiry held in private, where there was no public access to witness evidence or documents. Mr. O'Donoghue then took the view that there was nothing further to discuss and that it was the Ludlow family who were the cause of the stalemate! He then arrogantly strode out of the meeting, leaving the Ludlow family bemused by his behaviour!
The Ludlow family rejected his view entirely, seeing very little in the Minister's proposals that could establish truth and justice for Seamus Ludlow. The failure to achieve any movement rested with the Irish government, which now makes regular demands of the British to hold public inquiries into other ghastly state killings in the North of Ireland, while it hypocritically refuses to hold public inquiries in its own jurisdiction.
Indeed, they Ludlow family were outright in their condemnation of the Minister's private inquiry option and they ridiculed his proposal for a Joint Oireachtas Committee hearing, since that body was by then looking weaker by the day as its powers to ask questions and summon witnesses were daily being eroded by challenges from the gardai and Mr. O'Donoghue's own department since it began its investigation of the gardai armed Emergency Response Unit (ERU) and its shooting dead of John Carthy at Abbeylara, County Longford.
The only obstacle to the holding of an inquiry into Seamus Ludlow's foul murder and the cover-up, or more precisely the publication of any report of such an inquiry, as indicated in his official report by the Irish Victims Commissioner John Wilson - a report commissioned and accepted by the Dublin government - was the then strong possibility of a pending prosecution of the four Loyalist suspects in the North.
The four Loyalists were arrested by the RUC in February 1998. They were all released without charge, pending an investigation report being sent to the Northern Ireland Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). On 15 October 1999, the DPP ruled that none of the suspects would be charged with any offence, even though two of them have signed incriminating statements while in RUC custody.
Given the shameful failure of the Northern Ireland DPP, and the RUC, to press charges against any of the suspects, there could, in the Ludlow family's view, be no justification for a private inquiry as recommended by Mr. Wilson.
Mr. Justice Liam Hamilton announced his shock resignation from his private inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings in October 2000, on health grounds.
This was prior to his completing his report on the bombings (which left 34 people dead (including an unborn child) and 300 injured, in four separate no-warning bombs. These bombs which were planted by the UVF on 17 May 1974, at the height of the Loyalist Ulster Workers Council strike against the Sunningdale Agreement, raised serious questions about the suitability of a one-man private investigation of such grave issues.
The private Hamilton Inquiry had been going nowhere, with expected dates for the conclusion of a first report into the bombings not met - effectively stringing out the whole inquiry into the bombings of Dublin and Monaghan.
Mr. Hamilton died soon after his resignation on 29 November 2000.
Although he was soon replaced by Mr Justice Henry Barron, it remained to be seen whether or not the whole unsatisfactory process was being put back to square one. Although the Ludlow family had rejected Mr. Hamilton's private inquiry, this rejection was not a personal criticism of Mr. Hamilton himself.
The Ludlow family met with the then Irish Attorney General Michael McDowell on 21 February 2002 at Government Buildings, Dublin. Accompanied by their legal advisor James McGuill, solicitor, Dundalk, and, by Jane Winter, Director, British Irish Rights Watch (BIRW), London, the Ludlow family was informed that No Public Inquiry would take place before a private Barron Inquiry with a Draft Terms of Reference based closely on those described for the private Dublin and Monaghan Bombings inquiry.
The Dublin Government had decided to go ahead with the private Barron inquiry, regardless of the Ludlow family's stated objections. The Ludlow family restated their demand for a public inquiry and assured the Attorney General that their opinion on the proposed private inquiry had not changed since their unsatisfactory meeting in 2001 with the Minister for Justice, John O'Donoghue.
Despite their sincere misgivings about the Irish Government's proposals, the Ludlow family have had useful meetings with Mr Justice Barron regarding his private inquiry into the murder of Seamus Ludlow. Following legal advice the Ludlow family decided to give Mr Justice Barron their full cooperation.
Thus, in June and July 2002, after much consideration, members of the Ludlow family met with Mr Justice Henry Barron to assist him in his inquiry. Though still calling for a public inquiry, the Ludlow family had been advised that boycotting Mr Justice Barron's inquiry, which was going ahead anyway, would not be a wise option at that time.
The Ludlow family requested access to all files and witness statements that were seen by Mr Justice Barron, but this request was turned down.
The Ludlow family met with Mr Justice Barron again on 14 November, and a list of questions important to the Ludlow family was put to the judge. It was hoped that the questions would help the judge and his private inquiry. Again, it was put to him that the Ludlow family still requested access to files and evidence that is available to his inquiry.
It was hoped that such access would enable the Ludlow family to help the judge to make progress with his private inquiry. Given the Ludlow family's knowledge of the facts of the case it was felt that they could help Mr Justice Barron, not least by guiding him towards the relevant witnesses and assisting him with Ludlow family comments on the evidence he sees and hears.
Unfortunately, Mr Justice Barron did not agree to allowing such access to the Ludlow family. However, he did agree to write to the Ludlow family's lawyer to indicate matters that were raised in such interviews. This letter was to be passed to the Ludlow family for their comments.
Mr Justice Barron wrote the above mentioned letter on 27 February 2003. The letter referred to matters that were raised at the previous meetings with Mr Justice Barron, as well as statements made to him by unidentified witnesses.
At the meeting on 14 November 2002, Mr Justice Barron reported that he had received practically no cooperation from the British authorities in the North of Ireland, where no doubt there are RUC and British Army security files that would be very helpful in getting at the truth behind the murder of Seamus Ludlow.
Points raised by Mr Justice Barron included:
The above points indicated that there were indeed elements within the Gardai who helped spread lies about Seamus Ludlow being an informer who was murdered by the IRA - claims that were privately made to members of the Ludlow family by individual gardai on several occasions. Sometimes this lie was amended to a claim that Seamus Ludlow was murdered by the IRA perhaps because he saw something while he was engaged in his work at Ravensdale Forest. Yet another lie that has been bandied about for a number of years.
The final statement revealed the continued indifference to truth and justice in this sad affair that exists within the British RUC/PSNI police force and the British Army in the Six Counties, who were giving no assistance to Mr Justice Barron.
The PSNI (then the RUC) had a file on the known killers of Seamus Ludlow since at least 1977, and it is clear that they have important evidence that could be of help to Mr Justice Barron. Since at least two of Seamus Ludlow's killers were members of the British Army's Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) it is clear that the British army could also be helpful if they were so inclined.
29 January 2004: See The Irish Daily Star (Northern Edition) report Family and former British army man hit out Barron "Failed to Serve Truth" Former spy slams report for an interview with ex-British officer Fred Holroyd.
See also: The Irish Daily Star (Northern Edition): Family wants truth about murder for a Ludlow family comment on the Barron inquiry.
On 23 February 2004, representatives of the Ludlow family had a further productive two-hours meeting in Dundalk with Mr Justice Henry Barron to discuss his private inquiry.
It was an very interesting meeting in which the Ludlow family members asked many questions and helped clarify a few issues for the Mr Justice Barron.
They called on him to inquire further into the whereabouts of the three bullets that were fired into Seamus Ludlow - it appears that only one can be accounted for and two are missing. This has been confirmed for the Ludlow family by the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan, at a meeting with the family in March 2002.
It has been suggested that the missing bullets were sent north to the Northern Ireland Forensic Science Laboratory. Mr Justice Barron was also asked to inquire into the present whereabouts of Seamus Ludlow's clothing which may still provide useful DNA evidence.
Mr Justice Barron revealed that his private inquiry report will not be completed and published until later in the year. He still had many queries to get answers for. It had been hoped that his report would be completed early in 2004, but there had been delays in receiving information and more needed to be done. The Ludlow family was content to wait until Mr Justice Barron had done as thorough an investigation as was possible within his remit.
The Ludlow family was looking forward to eventually seeing Justice Barron's inquiry report, but that would not be the end of the fight. There are important answers which can only be found through the medium of a public inquiry. In fact, as the summer of 2005 draws to a close, the Barron Report, finished in October 2004, has yet to be published. No date for publication is yet available, and the Ludlow family have yet to see any part of the Report.
However, it was hoped that Justice Barron's inquiry report would help point the way to a public inquiry.
Justice Barron's narrow remit did not give him the power to compel witnesses to meet him nor answer his questions, nor can he demand the production of documents. He could not question gardai or other important witnesses under oath and the Ludlow family could not check on the honesty or otherwise of what they tell him. Witnesses could simply refuse to meet him or answer his questions - and some have done exactly that!
Mr Justice Barron could not simply walk into the Department of Justice or Garda Headquarters and see what was there for himself. Nor could he do anything about the ongoing British indifference to his inquiries.
A public inquiry - perhaps led by Mr Justice Barron himself - would have had the power of subpoena over witnesses and documents. Witnesses would have been questioned under oath and in public. Their perjury would be seen by all. Liars would have been exposed.
At the end of the 23 February 2004 meeting, Mr Justice Barron accompanied Ludlow family members as they visited the memorial to Seamus Ludlow in the lane off the Bog Road, at Mountpleasant, a few miles north of Dundalk, County Louth, where the foul murder of Seamus Ludlow was committed in 1976.
See also the following reports of this important meeting with Mr Justice Barron:
RTE Television News, online, 23 February 2004: Barron meets relatives of man killed by UDA
The Irish News, 24 February 2004: Relatives of 1976 murder victim meet Justice Barron
The Irish Daily Star (Northern Edition), 24 February 2004: Loyalist murder report hope
Mr Justice Henry Barron released his first private inquiry report on the murderous May 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings to Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and the Irish government at the end of October 2003.
Reacting to this handing over of the first Barron Report to Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Jimmy Sharkey, a nephew of the murdered Seamus Ludlow, was interviewed by the local Dundalk Democrat, 8 November 2003.
In this interview Jimmy pointed to serious shortcomings of the private Barron Inquiry, where important witnesses DO NOT appear to have been seen:
As they wait to hear if Seamus’ murder is included in this report, Jimmy doesn’t feel it will have a great impact. “As has already been said, Barron is probably an honourable man and is probably trying to do his best, but I really don’t think it will make much difference for us.
“We put forward names of people we felt should have been included in the inquiry and they were not.”.
eye witness to the murder, Paul Hosking, came forward in recent years and
stated that Seamus’ murder was carried out by UDR men with links to the
Loyalist Red Hand Commandos. In a published interview, he said he had given
the information to the RUC in 1987 and was told: “Forget it, it’s
Hosking said that he, along with three men, had been travelling in a yellow Datsun from Comber to Killyleagh, on to Omeath and then to Dundalk. Mr Ludlow was hitching a lift home and the car stopped to pick him up.
According to Hosking’s account, Seamus told the men they had driven past his house. The car turned down what is known as the Bog Road and turned into another lane.
Hosking said he got out of the car and as he had his back turned, he heard gunshots fired. The man who had been sitting in the front seat of the car was shooting into it. Seamus’ body was taken out and dumped in the ditch.
Paul Hosking put himself in the spotlight and told the public what had happened that night, yet as far as we know, he was not interviewed by Justice Barron.
Jimmy Sharkey believes that another person who should have been interviewed is Police Ombudsman, Nuala O’Loan.
“The family met with Nuala O’Loan and it was a very informative meeting. It would have been useful for Barron to have a conversation with her. Jimmy says he hopes that the Dublin and Monaghan families do make some progress as a result of the Barron Inquiry, but he does not see his uncle’s murderers ever being prosecuted.
“The chances are the main protagonists involved in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings are dead. Those who were involved in Seamus’ murder are still very much alive and we don’t think any of them will be prosecuted,” he said
In December 2003, the long awaited publication of the private Barron Inquiry Report into the 17 May 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings, which caused the deaths of 33 men, women and children - plus an unborn child - and left some 240 people injured, failed to answer all the questions still being asked about this the worst single atrocity of the Troubles.
The Ludlow family shared the Dublin and Monaghan families' disappointment in the failure of this first Barron Report to bring final closure to the bereaved and injured. This failure now made ever more pressing the families' demands for a public judicial inquiry where witnesses could be compelled to attend and give evidence under oath.
The Ludlow family was disturbed to find Justice Barron revealing that important files had gone missing without trace from the Department of Justice and Garda Headquarters at Dublin Castle and by his report's confirmation that he had received practically no cooperation from the British authorities, including the Northern Ireland Office, MI5, the British Army, and the RUC.
This first report of Justice Barron gave little cause for optimism that this private inquiry would fare any better in its attempt to get at the truth behind the cover-up of the murder of Seamus Ludlow, which woiuld be subject of its third report.
The outcome, after four years of private investigation by Mr Justice Barron, and by his predecessor the late Mr Justice Liam Hamilton, did nothing to promote confidence in the private inquiry's forthcoming reports on the Dundalk bombing and the murder of Seamus Ludlow. These inquiries would likely also be hampered by missing files in the Department of Justice in Dublin and by British government indifference to requests for cooperation.
Mr Justice Barron's Report also disappointed many of the surviving victims and their relatives in that he failed to find evidence of high level collusion between the loyalist UVF murder gang and the British authorities in the Six Counties.
While he did not exclude the possibility that individual RUC, UDR and British army/intelligence personnel may have been involved in a personal capacity in this outrage, Mr Justice Barron stopped short of contending that such collusion went higher. His failure to locate files in the Department of Justice - either lost or deliberately destroyed to prevent further revelations - and Britain's refusal to cooperate made such suspicions impossible to prove one way or another. Perhaps the absence of these files ensured that he was never able to find the evidence he wanted!
See the following articles from the local Dundalk Democrat newspaper for comments on the recently published first Barron Report on the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.
The Dundalk Democrat, 20 December 2003, Editorial: No cause for optimism following Barron Report
The Dundalk Democrat, 20 December 2003: Bombing families fear truth will never be known
The Dundalk Democrat, 20 December 2003: Missing files a matter of concern for Ludlow relatives
On 5 August 2004, members of the Ludlow family met with Mr Justice Henry Barron in Dundalk to discuss his still ongoing inquiry into the murder of Seamus Ludlow.
See this article in The Irish Examiner, 06 August 04: Report on Ludlow murder ready ‘in autumn’:
A REPORT into the 1976 murder of Louthman
Séamus Ludlow by loyalists is expected to be completed by Mr Justice Henry
Barron by late September.
27 October 2004: In an Irish News report it was revealed for the first time that the private Barron investigation Report on the murder of Seamus Ludlow had been completed and had been passed to the Irish government. There were no indications as to how long it would take for the report to be published, but hopes that it would be published within a few months - as in the case of the first report on the Dublin and Monaghan bombings - were dashed as weeks stretched into months of waiting, waiting, waiting!
20 April 2005: See The Irish News, Family 'treated like dirt' over delay of report into murder
Regarding the long-delayed publication of the private Barron Report on the murder of Seamus Ludlow, The Irish News quotes a member of the Ludlow family, who, in a hard-hitting statement of Ludlow family disappointment at the continued delay, has:
accused authorities of "treating us like dirt" for the past three decades.
The claim came as it emerged that it will be several weeks before the publication of a report by retired Supreme Court judge Justice Henry Barron into the killing by a loyalist gang.
Senior government officials last night insisted that Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was keen to publish the Barron report in full. However, the government is seeking advice on the risks posed by publicly naming a umber of individuals featured in the report.
While the names of Mr Ludlow's abductors and killers were made public by the media some time ago, the government must make its decision to name or shield individuals on a 'right to life' basis.
Official sources said there was still "no word" on a publication date, saying the taoiseach remained "anxious" to publish the report in full.
They said it was hoped that the report would be made public within weeks. The government received the report from Justice Barron last October.
Mr Ludlow's brother Kevin last night said it was a "disgrace" that six months after the taoiseach received the Barron report it had still not been published.
"This is typical of the cover-up that's been going on since Seamus was murdered 28 years ago," he said.
Mr Ludlow also claimed that his family would "receive very different treatment" if his 47-year-old brother had been murdered by the IRA.
"If Seamus had been killed by the IRA we would be getting the same publicity as (Belfast murder victim) Robert McCartney's family. But as soon as it became known that loyalists were behind Seamus' death, the authorities here did everything they could to sweep it under the carpet," he said.
He said he believed that the Irish government did not want to "embarrass" their British counterparts over evidence that his brother's killers were linked to the security forces.
Soon afterwards, the 29th anniversay of Seamus Ludlow's abduction and murder had passed. His loyalist killers have yet to answer for their foul crime and the authorities in Belfast and Dublin have yet to acknowledge the injustice that was done to this innocent victim of British and Irish forces collusion with loyalist death squads.
The long-awaited private Barron Report on the murder of Seamus Ludlow was finally published on 3 November 2005. To read nore go here.>>>
Meanwhile, a fresh inquest into the death of Seamus Ludlow - after a delay of more than three years, was finally held over two days on 5/6 September 2005.
The completed Barron Report, named after retired judge Mr Justice Henry Barron (1925-2010), who was appointed by the government to look at the case, was passed to the Irish government in October 2004. Mr Justice Barron, a member of Ireland's tiny Jewish community, sat on the Supreme Court from 1997 until his retirement in 2000. He passed away on 25 February 2010, aged 83. See his obituary on Times online.
I Top I
I See press release from Margaret Urwin, Secretary of Justice for the Forgotten, following publication of the Barron Report. I
Read these excerpts from the published Barron Report:
See also, the following press coverage of yesterday's publication of the private Barron Report:
UTV news online, 3 November 2005: 'Barron report to be published'
See also, the following press coverage of yesterday's publication of the private Barron Report:
The Irish Independent, 4 November 2005: Ludlow family insists public inquiry is crucial to getting justice for their father
BBC News online: 4 November 2005: Call for public inquiry into 1976 murder
RTE News online, 4 November 2005: Wren rejects Barron report finding
The Irish Times, 4 November 2005: Ludlow report criticises Garda investigation
The Belfast Telegraph, 4 November 2005 Relatives of man killed by loyalists urge police action probe
The Irish Examiner - Editorial, 4 November 2005: Family needs a full-scale inquiry
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