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October 2000 - Mr. Justice Liam Hamilton resigns on health grounds from his private inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings and he is replaced by Mr. Justice Henry Barron. Mr. Hamilton passed away soon afterwards on 29 November 2000.  . . . . . . 21 February 2002 - The Ludlow family are informed by Attorney General Michael McDowell that the Irish Government has decided that there will be No Public Inquiry as demanded by the family of Seamus Ludlow. The Government has decided to go ahead with a private inquiry under Mr Justice Henry Barron . . . . .

  The Hamilton Inquiry.  

(Now the Barron Inquiry.) 

The Ludlow family has campaigned consistently for public inquiries in both jurisdictions in Ireland into the sectarian murder in County Louth of their dear relative Seamus Ludlow. 

Seamus was murdered by members of the outlawed Loyalist murder gang, the Red Hand Commando and the British Army's Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) on the night of 1st and 2nd May, 1976. The four suspects, whose names are all known to the Ludlow family, were arrested by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) in February 1998, but once again they have evaded the justice that they were protected from since 1976.The late former Chief Justice Liam Hamilton, appointed by Bertie Ahern, to conduct a private inquiry into the Dublin, Monaghan and Dundalk bombings.. Mr. Hamilton resigned  on health grounds from his inquiry in October 2000, and his place was taken by judge Henry Barron. Mr. Hamilton's death followed soon afterwards on 29 November 2000.Mr Justice Henry Barron, who succeeded the late Mr Justice Hamilton. He is yet to finish his private inquiries into the Dublin/Monaghan and Dundalk bombings and the murder of Seamus Ludlow.





The Ludlow family demands a full accounting of the failure by both the Gardai and the RUC to bring the killers to justice. They demand explanations and apologies for the smearing of the innocent victim and the covering-up of his murder to protect his killers who were identified very soon after the crime was committed. 

The Irish government hopes that the Ludlow family will 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, 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 can have no confidence in any inquiry held in private, where there is 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! 

The Ludlow family rejected this 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 now 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. 

Mr. John Wilson, the former Irish Victims Commissioner.This possibility has been removed by the failure of the Northern Ireland Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to bring charges against any of the former UDR/Red Hand Commando suspects. Accordingly the Ludlow family now reaffirmed its demand for a fully public and independent inquiry to be convened at the earliest possible opportunity. 

Mr. Wilson's recommendations for an investigation into the original botched or sabotaged Gardai investigation of the murder of Seamus Ludlow, by a retired Supreme Court judge like Liam Hamilton, and the DPP's extraordinary decision can be viewed in the box at the top of this page. 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.

Further, Mr. Hamilton's shock resignation in October 2000, on health grounds, from his private inquiry, prior to his completing his report on the Dublin and Monaghan bombings (which left 33 people dead and 300 injured in the four separate no-warning bombs, planted by the UVF at the height of the Loyalist Ulster Workers Council strike against the Sunningdale Agreement in 1974), raised serious questions about the suitability of a one-man private investigation of such grave issues. Sadly, Mr. Hamilton was very ill indeed, for his death was reported in the national press on 1 December 2000.

To date, neither the RUC nor the Gardai have issued an apology for their role in protecting Seamus Ludlow's killers and the British authorities in Belfast and their Irish counterparts in Dublin have not responded to the Ludlow family's just demands for a full and independent public inquiry.

While the British remain utterly silent on this issue, in Dublin there remains a fierce reluctance to go beyond a private inquiry, like the Hamilton Inquiry, for any of the Loyalist atrocities that were committed south of the border.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, who has appointed former Chief Justice Liam Hamilton to investigate the Dublin, Monaghan and Dundalk bombings. Mr. Ahern has yet to meet with the Ludlow family.Taoiseach Bertie Ahern TD announced on Sunday, 19th. December, 1999, that the outgoing Chief Justice, Mr. Liam Hamilton was being invited to "undertake a thorough examination, involving fact finding and assessment of all aspects of the Dublin, Monaghan and Dundalk bombings and their sequel, including

   - the facts, causes and perpetrators of the bombings;

   - the nature, adequacy and extent of Garda investigations, including the adequacy of co-operation with and from the relevant authorities in Northern Ireland and the adequacy of the handling of scientific analyses of forensic evidence; and

   - the reasons why no prosecution took place, including whether and if so, by whom and to what extent the investigations were impeded. . .".

This was the closest that the Dublin authorities had come to acceding to the various family's' demands for a public inquiry in those cases, but it remained to be seen if the formula laid out in Mr. Ahern's statement was acceptable to all concerned. 

Still, the Ludlow family was mindful that their demand was for a genuine public inquiry, and that now that the Northern Ireland DPP was no longer standing in the way, there was no justification for Dublin's failure to convene such an inquiry, perhaps on lines similar to those of the  present British Saville Inquiry into the Bloody Sunday in Derry.

One thing is clear though - the Seamus Ludlow case was, at this stage at least, not even being considered by the Dublin government for the Hamilton Inquiry. Chief Justice Liam Hamilton was not being asked to look into the murder of Seamus Ludlow and the subsequent cover-up and smear campaign that has been the focus of the Ludlow family's campaign for truth and justice. 

Therefore, the Ludlow family circle's attitude to the proposed Hamilton inquiry was largely irrelevant. The Ludlow family was given no choice to consider at the outset of the Hamilton Inquiry, though it was becoming increasingly clear that Hamilton could not produce the truth that was demanded by the Ludlow family, and was perhaps designed to ensure that the full truth of what was done would never be revealed.

The Ludlow family had every reason to believe that the murder of Seamus Ludlow should at least have been included in Mr. Ahern's inadequate proposals, however deficient they were when held up to close scrutiny. After all, four Loyalists were arrested by the RUC for questioning about that foul crime in February 1998; the Northern Ireland Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had decided on 15 October 1999 that none of the four prime  suspects would be prosecuted; and the Ludlow family had received firm information from within the Gardai that confirmed their worst suspicions of an official cover-up. 

Not least among their concerns was the revelation of the existence of a long suppressed Garda file that contained the names of several suspects. The file had been received from the RUC, in the North, in 1979.

The proposed private Hamilton inquiry did not satisfy the Ludlow family's demands, but at least it should initially have been an option for the family to consider: to accept or to reject. By the summer of 2000 it was all too clear that Hamilton was indeed falling far short of the Ludlow family's clear demands. 

The family, through their solicitor, continued to demand the holding of a full independent inquiry, where all necessary papers and witness would be examined in public. Meanwhile, the private Hamilton Inquiry was going nowhere, with expected dates for the conclusion of a first report not met - effectively stringing out the whole inquiry into the bombings of Dublin and Monaghan. 

Matters worsened in October 2000 with the sudden and unexpected resignation of Mr. Justice Hamilton, on, at that time unspecified, health grounds, before finishing his report. Mr. Hamilton died soon afterwards on 29 November 2000.

Although he was soon replaced by judge 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.

There were strong indications by the end of January 2000 that the Department of Justice in Dublin was looking at adding the Seamus Ludlow case to Mr. Justice Liam Hamilton's remit. The following statement from the Private Secretary at the Minister's office comes from a letter, dated 31 January, 2000,  to the Ludlow family's solicitor:

"The Minister believes that including the case of the late Mr. Ludlow as part of the remit of Mr. Justice Hamilton would be the most appropriate way to address the concerns which have been expressed about this case. Accordingly, he has asked me to tell you that he is minded to recommend to his colleagues in Government that the case be included in the remit of Mr. Justice Hamilton."

The Department of Justice called upon the Ludlow family's solicitor to inquire and inform the Minister of the Ludlow family's attitude to this approach. As Mr. Justice Liam Hamilton was due to commence his work very shortly, the Private Secretary said "it would be very much appreciated if you could respond to the Minister's proposal within the next week". 

Notably absent from the Private Secretary's letter was a response to the Ludlow family's repeated request for the releasing of the recent Garda investigation report from the 1998 inquiry headed by Chief Superintendent Ted Murphy, and other relevant files from 1976 and 1979. 

If the Minister for Justice was expecting immediate acceptance from the Ludlow family for a proposal that had neither been made public nor explained in great detail at that time, he was to be disappointed. The Ludlow family had not given up on its firm demands for a public inquiry and for access to Garda and RUC reports on the sectarian murder of Seamus Ludlow. There were still many questions to be examined before the Ludlow family could consider giving assent to the Minister's still private proposal for what was a private inquiry. 

The then Hamilton Inquiry was not initially rejected outright, but the Ludlow family would require much more persuasion before they would accept something less than their basic demands of truth and justice through a public inquiry. Would the private Hamilton Inquiry satisfy all their demands? Would it uncover the whole truth about Seamus Ludlow's sectarian murder? Would it get to the bottom of the RUC and Garda cover-up which has kept Seamus Ludlow's UDR and Red Hand Commando killers immune from justice since 1976? 

Was the private Hamilton Inquiry any more than a last-ditch Dublin government attempt to control the release of relevant information, to limit damaging revelations and to protect the image and reputations of the Garda and others who may have serious questions to answer? Was it a genuine attempt to uncover the whole truth regardless of the consequence? Was it aimed only at bringing out the full unvarnished truth behind the shameful failure to bring to justice those responsible for heinous crimes in the Irish state? Would the various families be granted effective legal representation, with the absolute right to demand the release of files and to subpoena vital witnesses, who could be questioned under oath? 

If the answers to these questions is "No", then clearly the Hamilton Inquiry could surely not meet with the stated requirements of the Ludlow family. If the answers to these questions is "Yes", as Government statements seemed to say, then the Ludlow family could ask, why not go the full distance and establish a public inquiry? If there is truly nothing to hide, then there should be a public inquiry.

On 25 February, 2000, the Ludlow family's solicitor sent his response to the Minister for Justice, "reflecting the view of the family in relation to the similarities between this case and that of Pat Finucane". The solicitor referred to previous correspondence, saying that he was looking "forward to hearing from you in relation to this matter and in particular to receiving a copy of the Investigation Report." 

The solicitor concluded: "Again on behalf of the family we must emphasise the view that the case for a public inquiry is compelling and unanswerable. We look forward to hearing from you." The solicitor was still waiting more than four months later. 

The Ludlow family rejected the proposal made by the Minister for Justice at a meeting with him on 23 May 2001. By that time there was still no further progress and the Minister remained controversially set against holding a public inquiry, although he stressed that it was not ruled out for the future.

The Dublin government initially said that it intended that the then Hamilton inquiry will "have full access to all files and papers of Government Departments and the Garda Siochana. The Government will also direct that all members of the Public Service and the Garda Siochana extend their full co-operation to him. Furthermore, the Taoiseach intends that the Government will seek the co-operation of the British authorities with the Chief Justice's examination.

"The results of the Chief Justice's inquiry will be presented to the Government, and there will follow "an examination of the report in public session by the "Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Equality and Women's Rights or a sub-committee of that Committee".

The following excerpt from the Statement by the Taoiseach on the Dublin, Monaghan and Dundalk Bombings (19th December, 1999) gives further details of the private process that the Minister for Justice had recommended to the Ludlow family, who remained opposed to this private alternative to a public inquiry:

(Because of the separation of powers between the Executive and the Legislature, it is not possible for the Government to direct the Oireachtas or a Committee of it to take a particular action. However, the Government would do everything in its power to ensure that the Committee took this action and, as there is cross-party support for this approach, the Government are confident that matters would unfold along the lines envisaged.)

"It is also envisaged by the Government by the Government that the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Equality and Women's rights would direct that the report prepared by the Chief Justice be submitted to the Committee, in order for it to advise the Oireachtas as to what further action, if any, would be necessary to establish the truth of what happened.

"The Committees of the Houses of the Oireachtas (Compellability, Privileges and Immunity of Witnesses) Act, 1997 enables the Oireachtas to confer power on an Oireachtas Committee to send for persons, papers and records and it is envisaged that these powers would be invoked, including at the stage where the Committee, in public session, considered the follow-up to be given to the report of the Chief Justice.

"The Government envisage that that this consideration will involve hearings at which

-  the Justice for the Forgotten Group, representing the injured and bereaved, would have the right to appear before, and be heard before, the Committee;

- the Committee would exercise powers to direct the material relevant to the findings of the report to be placed before it; and

- it would also exercise powers to call persons to appear before it to respond publicly to the report.

"As the Government see the matter, there would be three approaches open to the Committee:

(i) advise that the report achieved as far as possible the objective of finding out the truth and that no further action would be required or fruitful;

(ii) advise that the report did not achieve the objective which could only be done through a public inquiry; or

(iii) advise that the report did not achieve the objective and the Committee or a sub-committee of the Committee should examine the matter further (as outlined previously, the options available to such committees or sub-committees include public hearings and powers to send for persons, papers and records). . .".

It is for the Justice for the Forgotten group and the people bereaved and injured by the Dublin, Monaghan and Dundalk bombings to decide whether or not the private Hamilton Inquiry process, as outlined above, is appropriate to their demands. 

The Ludlow family accepted their right to make their own decisions in their own cases. The Ludlow family had considered Mr. Ahern's and Mr. O'Donoghue's proposals for the Hamilton (Barron) Inquiry and Joint Oireachtas Committee hearing and they were still rejected as having no merit in meeting the family's stated demands. 

The idea of a public Joint Oireachtas Committee hearing had recently been severely undermined by the gardai and the Department of Justice who had challenged its powers in regard to its investigation of the controversial Abbeylara case - making it little more than a rubber stamp body with none of the powers envisaged originally by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. It was daily becoming apparent that this can be no alternative to a public inquiry as envisaged by the Ludlow family.

The Dublin Government's ideas for extending the remit of the Hamilton (Barron) Inquiry so that it would look also at the murder of Seamus Ludlow were outlined in further detail during Taoiseach's questions in Leinster House, Dublin, on 23 May 2000.  Mr. Ahern stated that this was his government's advice to the Ludlow family, who he accepts have "strong views and they are not yet satisfied that this is the best way to proceed". 

Mr. Ahern repeated his previous claim that he has met with the Ludlow family. Well, this is strange news to the late Seamus Ludlow's surviving brother, three sisters and many nephews and nieces and their families, for no Ludlow family group has ever met with Mr. Ahern. Requests for a meeting with Mr. Ahern have never been acknowledged. Repeated requests for such a meeting have been ignored, while Mr Ahern has met with other families who have lost loved ones in the North.

Mr. Ahern went on to introduce various arguments which could later be used as an excuse for any failure of such an inquiry. For instance, Mr. Ahern said:

"As Deputy Quinn is aware, there are difficulties in the Seamus Ludlow case, including cross-jurisdictional issues. An added complication is that identifiable individuals were accused publicly in the case and the DPP in Northern Ireland, having considered evidence available there, decided not to prefer charges. This will make a public examination of the case difficult here. However, my view remains that an examination by the former Chief Justice is the best way to proceed."

Such arguments promote little confidence that the proposed Hamilton (now Barron) process will produce the desired results, or that it was ever intended to. Certainly nothing said by Mr. Ahern helped persuade the Ludlow family that Hamilton (Barron) was the best way forward or any alternative to a public inquiry. The Taoiseach's position was explained further in a letter to the Ludlow family solicitor of 28 July 2000. Interestingly, the Private Secretary's letter concluded:

"Under this approach, a public judicial inquiry is not ruled out at this stage. It would be one of a number of options that could be considered, following on the completion of an examination by an eminent legal person.

"Nor would examination by Judge Hamilton preclude your clients continuing, if they wished, to campaign for a public inquiry, as the Justice for the Forgotten group continue to do in regard to the Dublin/Monaghan bombings.

"The case of the murder of Mr. Ludlow has been dealt with in a recent submission to the Government. it is now expected that interdepartmental consultations on the best approach will be brought to a conclusion soon, with a view to a further submission to an early meeting of the Government."

Some useful points which will no doubt help guide the Ludlow family towards a final decision were made by the broadcaster and writer Don Mullan - noted author of the momentous Eyewitness Bloody Sunday and the recently published book The Dublin and Monaghan Bombings (published by Wolfhound Press, October 2000) - in a communication with a member of the family. 

Mr. Mullan, a valued supporter of the Ludlow family's campaign for justice, has advised:        

"There will, no doubt, be linkages, especially regarding the perpetrators of the crimes and the collusion of British State forces.  However, I think it is important that we don't allow the government to submerge all incidents in a pot of political stew.  Each crime deserves to be examined on its own merits.  The dead and the bereaved are entitled to no less.

"It is certainly worth considering whether or not you should cooperate with a Hamilton Assessment of all the available evidence concerning Shamus's murder and your subsequent experience with the Garda 'Investigation'.  Whatever you decide, however, I think it is important you insist on allowing the Seamus Ludlow case to stand on its own, just as Dublin and Monaghan should stand on its own, along with the  Dundalk bombing and the 1972 Dublin bombing.

"Having said that, I think it is very important that each individual campaign should be united in a collective effort to support and encourage one another."

Mr. Mullan has raised important points here. Can an inquiry process dealing with more than one atrocity - the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974, the Dundalk bombing of 1975, and perhaps also the Castleblaney bombing and other Dublin bombings as well as Seamus Ludlow's murder,  treat each case on its own merits or will it seek out simple common denominators and thereby avoid close examination of the specifics of each case?

It is also important to the Ludlow family that all others  presently demanding truth and justice for other Loyalist/British forces crimes in the Irish state, and their many other victims  north of the border, should collectively support each other. They are all victims of state violence and their plight has been ignored by the very state which has brought them grief and suffering. They all fully deserve the truth and justice that the British authorities have long denied them and the Ludlow family will support them in their just demands.

Postscript, 23 November 2001:

In a devastating blow to the Dublin government's proposed plan for a private inquiry and Joint Oireachtas Committee investigation into the 1976 murder of Seamus Ludlow, the three-judge Irish High Court in Dublin, in a landmark decision, has sharply  restricted the scope of Oireachtas investigations. 

The Court has upheld a challenge by 36 members of the Garda Emergency Response Unit against the conduct of the inquiry into the April 2000 killing of John Carthy in Abbeylara, County Longford. Oireachtas inquiries cannot now make "findings of fact or expressions of opinion" which damage the good name of citizens who are not TDs or senators. 

Further update: 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, once again, 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 above for the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings inquiry. 

You can read further about this setback for the Ludlow family's campaign for truth and justice by reading the report that was published in the Dundalk Democrat newspaper on 2 March 2002. In this, Jimmy Sharkey gives the Ludlow family's first public reaction to the Dublin government's cruel decision to continue with the cover-up.

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. 

However, 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 have been advised that boycotting Mr Justice Barron's inquiry, which is going ahead anyway, would not be a wise option at this 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 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.

Points raised by Mr Justice Barron included:

It has been said that although there were several possibilities considered as to how Seamus Ludlow came to his death, there was no evidence to support any of them.

The inquiry has seen intelligence passed to the security section of an garda Siochana suggesting that Seamus Ludlow was murdered because he was an informer. Gardai to whom the Inquiry has spoken do not accept this.

It has been suggested that there were murders of persons in the Dundalk area who had accidentally come across information or had spoken a word out of turn.

At present the progress of the Inquiry has been slowed owing to the absence of any information being received from outside the jurisdiction.

The above points indicate 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 reveals 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 are 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.

The Barron Inquiry released its private inquiry report on the Dublin and Monaghan bombings  to the Irish government at the end of October 2003.

Reacting to this new development, 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 Barron Inquiry, where important witnesses DO NOT appear

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.”.

 An 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 political”. 

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.

The first Barron Report was released to the public on 10 November 2003. See the link below to download the full text in pdf format. (There may be a slight delay.) There is also a link to Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's statement about this release.

The outcome, after four years of investigation by Mr Justice Barron, and by his predecessor the late  Mr Justice Liam Hamilton, does not promote confidence in the private inquiry's forthcoming reports on the Dundalk bombing and the murder of Seamus Ludlow. These inquiries will also be hampered by missing files in the Department of Justice in Dublin and by British government indifference to requests for cooperation. 

However, Mr Justice Barron saw enough for him to make damning criticisms of the garda investigation and of the attitude and actions of the Fine Gael-Labour coalition government of that time.

Mr Justice Barron's Report has 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. As one member of Justice for the Forgotten observed, he failed to find such collusion because he was not allowed to, with London refusing to cooperate and with relevant files in the Department of Justice missing or destroyed.

Mr Justice Barron criticised the lack of co-operation by the British government, which refused to make original documents available to the inquiry. 

Following a trawl of 68,000 files, the then Northern Ireland secretary of state Dr John Reid provided a 16-page document - out of  the  millions of relevant documents it held - to the inquiry in February 2002, nearly 18 months after information was sought. With some justification, the British Government was widely criticised  over its “contempt” for the Barron Inquiry 

The Ludlow family is aware that the British authorities are also failing to provide the still ongoing Barron Inquiry with documents it requested regarding the May 1976 murder of Seamus Ludlow

A solicitor representing relatives of some of the victims called for a public inquiry with powers to subpoena witnesses and documents.

"The problem is that this inquiry has been working behind closed doors for some time and simply hasn't delivered," said Des Doherty

"It's the fault of the process more than anything else - there's no other mechanism available."

He added: "How documents can go missing or cannot be found simply beggars belief."

Angela O'Neill, who lost her father in the attacks, said the report contained nothing that they did not already know.

The Ludlow family now await Mr Justice Barron's Report on the murder of Seamus Ludlow, mindful that he will be reporting on the same unsympathetic government and garda authorities and that it seems most likely that relevant Department of Justice files must have met the same fate as those regarding the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. 

His Report may only serve to intensify demands for a full public inquiry with the power to subpoena witnesses and documents - a power which Mr Justice Barron never had.


 Meanwhile, a fresh inquest in Dundalk will be held in the near future.

(See links to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings campaign on the Ludlow family's Links page.)

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See also: 

Magill Magazine, September 2002: The Truth Trickles Out   Mystery has always surrounded the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings. An independent inquiry has been set up to look at the events surrounding the attacks, and the bombing of Dundalk the following year. Donall O Maolfabhail reports on its likely findings.

The Dundalk Democrat, 21 September 2002: Barron investigations lead to public inquiry into Dundalk bombing

Sunday Business Post, 19 January 2003: Dublin-Monaghan: will the truth finally out?

The Irish News, 21 March 2003: Loyalist murder inquiry call renewed

The Irish Sun, 26 March 2003: Report on Ludlow to be unveiled

Ireland on Sunday, 12 October 2003: Top names linked to Dublin-Monaghan atrocity  Bombs report names gardai 'collaborators'

The Sunday Independent, 2 November 3003: Net is closing in on Dublin car bombers

Most recent report.

The Dundalk Democrat, 8 November 2003: Dundalk bombing and Ludlow murder ignored

The Dundalk Democrat, 8 November 2003: Family feel inquiry will make little difference

The Dundalk Democrat, 8 November 2003: Inquest could be next January


The Barron Report can be downloaded in pdf format from

See also: 10.12.03 Statement by An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern TD on the publication of the Barron Report into the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings 1974




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Revised: March 12, 2005 .