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Daily Ireland, 22 February 2006:
Ludlow relatives say Taoiseach displays 'double standards'
Family of loyalist victim say they are 'no use' to Bertie Ahern
by Ciarán Barnes
Relatives of a Dundalk man murdered by loyalists have criticised the Taoiseach for refusing to meet them at a time when he is preparing to hold discussions with other victims of paramilitary violence.
The Ludlow family have been pressing for a meeting with Bertie Ahern since he came to power in 1997. They want to question the Taoiseach about the alleged Garda cover-up that followed the 1976 murder of Seamus Ludlow.
For two decades, detectives blamed the IRA for the killing, despite being told in 1979 by the RUC that four loyalists from north Down were responsible.
Mr Ahern has consistently refused to meet with Mr Ludlow's relatives to listen to their concerns.
On Friday representatives of the Taoiseach's offices met with Belfast man Raymond McCord whose son, Raymond McCord Junior, was murdered by loyalist police informants in 1997. Mr McCord is set for a further meeting, this time with Mr Ahern, later in the year.
The Ludlow family wants to know why the Taoiseach is prepared to meet with Mr McCord, but not with them.
Mr Ludlow’s nephew, Jimmy Sharkey, said: “We’ve written to Bertie Ahern five times in the last six years but he has refused to respond to our letters.
“There is a real double standard here. Mr Ahern will call for public inquiries into murders in the North like that of Pat Finucane and Billy Wright, but won’t do the same for my uncle Seamus.”
Mr Sharkey believes that if his uncle had been murdered by the IRA he would be in regular contact with the Taosieach.
“Because Seamus was killed by loyalists Mr Ahern doesn’t want to know anything about the case. We are of no use to him,” he added.
“If Seamus had been killed by the IRA, the Taoiseach would have used us as a stick to beat Sinn Féin with.”
He said: “Mr Ahern knows we know there was a Garda cover-up. He is afraid of what we might ask him. It is disappointing because Mr Ahern seems prepared to meet with anyone whose name isn’t Ludlow.”
The Ludlow family’s criticism of the Taosieach came on the same day that their legal representative, Deirdre Murphy, told an Irish parliamentary hearing in Dublin that it was unlikely those behind the murder would ever be brought to justice.
She said: “They know that it is highly unlikely that anybody would ever be brought to justice. The justice system will not be able to deal with the perpetrators of this murder and it is because of the actions of the authorities in this state in relation to the investigation.”
A spokesman at the Taoiseach’s office said the Taoiseach and other ministers frequently receive requests for meetings with victims or their representatives.
“They do their utmost to accommodate these. The Taoiseach frequently meets victims groups from both North and South. On occasion he asks Ministers or officials to meet groups on his behalf. The Minister for Justice has met with representatives of Seamus Ludlow’s family on two occasions. Given the particular circumstances of the murder of Seamus Ludlow, the government established an independent inquiry into the case by Judge Barron.”
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