Cover-up at 'cabinet level'
By Ciarán Barnes
Loyalist murder victim
Séamus Ludlow's nephew
says senior officials hid the truth
Public inquiry called
for in Ludlow murder case
cabinet ministers may have known of a Garda plot to cover up the murder of
a Co Louth man by loyalists 30 years ago, his nephew said last night.
Donegan was speaking after appearing before an Oireachtas
subcommittee sitting to consider the Barron report on the murder of Séamus
47-year-old was murdered on May 2, 1976, by a Red Hand Commando gang.
Garda immediately blamed the murder on the IRA despite suspecting it to be the work of loyalists. In 1979, the RUC told gardaí that loyalists
responsible, giving them the names of the four men involved in the
However, this information was not pursued at the time and withheld from
the Ludlow family until the mid-1990s.
the Ludlows learned of the true nature of their relative's death they
pressurised the Irish government into commissioning Judge Henry Barron's
report into the murder.
in November it was highly critical of the Garda investigation, but
stopped short of recommending a full public inquiry.
before the Oireachtas subcommittee yesterday, Michael Donegan repeated his calls for an inquiry into the murder. He also accused senior
officials in the Garda and government of covering up details of the
said: "The cover up certainly extended to the top levels of the Garda
Department of Justice, and maybe even the Irish cabinet.
only way to get to the truth is through a public inquiry. The
Oireachtas subcommittee doesn't have the power to call witnesses or demand
documents. Because of this, it is flawed."
Donegan said at this stage his family are not "particularly
in tracking down the loyalist gang who murdered his uncle.
are more interested in finding out why the state let us down, why they
let our uncle Séamus down," added Mr Donegan.
family solicitor James McGuill said: "This has been an appalling
three decades of experience of how an ordinary law-abiding family found
themselves in a set of completely life-changing circumstances which was
compounded by the state authorities they had to deal with."
Oireachtas subcommittee will deliver its findings on the Barron report
on March 31.
his investigation, Judge Barron said the Garda failed to pursue those
responsible fearing that the IRA might attack police in the South for
co-operating with the RUC in the North. He also stated that any such
co-operation with the RUC might be perceived as acceding sovereignty to
the British government.
these findings failed to impress the Ludlow family, who insist it
was more convenient for the Garda to blame the killing on the IRA.