decision not to interview four key suspects in the murder of a Dundalk
forestry worker 30 years ago was probably political, a judge said
Ludlow (47) was abducted by loyalist paramilitaries in Co Louth and
shot dead on May 2, 1976, but gardaí never interviewed the suspects
identified by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) 18 months later.
the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Judge Henry Barron was
asked if this decision had been taken because of the volatile
situation at the time. “I think the reality is that it was probably
political,” he replied.
Committee member senator, Jim Walsh, suggested that while he did not
agree with it, one possibility was that the government did not want
the loyalist suspects interviewed because it might inflame republican
his report into Seamus Ludlow’s death, Judge Barron said it was most
probable the decision not to carry out the interviews with the
Northern Ireland-based suspects was made by former Garda Commissioner,
Laurence Wren, then head of the Garda C3 security section.
two Garda detectives who received the information from the RUC in 1979
never received authorisation from C3 to travel across the border again
to follow it up, despite the fact that two of the suspects were in
prison and readily available for interview.
Barron told the committee he stood over his report’s conclusion,
despite strong denials from Mr Wren that he had any involvement in the
must have been made by the most senior member and that was Mr Wren,”
TD, Joe Costello this failure to interview the key suspects meant
there had never been a proper murder investigation by the gardaí.
four suspects named in Judge Barron’s report – Paul Hosking, James
Fitzsimmons, Richard Long and Samuel Carroll – were arrested in the
North in 1998, but the DPP there decided not to prosecute them because
of insufficient evidence.
Barron said he would have liked to have seen the RUC files on the
Ludlow murder while compiling his report. But this was not possible
because he got no co-operation from the British authorities.
family of Seamus Ludlow, who have travelled from Dundalk to attend
each committee hearing, are calling for a full public inquiry into his