Minister Michael McDowell has apologised to the family of the late
Seamus Ludlow for the way they were treated by the state.
before a Joint Oireachtas sub-committee on Justice, which is considering
the Barron Report into his murder, Mr McDowell said he was 'more than
happy' to apologise on behalf of his department for the manner in which
his family was treated.
Ludlow, a 47-year-old single man from Dundalk, was shot dead as he
walked home from a pub in May 1976. The Barron Report sharply criticised
the garda investigation into his death, noting that the RUC told the
gardai in 1979 that it believed four named loyalists were involved in
the killing, but this information was not pursued at the time.
Barron Report also found that Mr Ludlow, a forestry worker, had no
connection with any subversive organisation.
can only speak for the department and the areas in which I have
responsibility," the minister said. "I'm more than happy to
express formally my deep regret to the family."
the committee, Mr McDowell also said that establishing a public inquiry
into Mr Ludlow's death could present 'constitutional difficulties'.
real question is, is it appropriate to set up a tribunal of inquiry 30
years later, the effect of which will be to conduct an inquiry directed
towards establishing if someone committed a crime 10, 20 or 30 years
ago?" he said.
the committee came to the conclusion that this (the Garda investigation)
was an unsatisfactory investigation, it still doesn't follow that it
would be lawful for the state to establish an inquiry."
fact that the DPP in Northern Ireland had directed that nobody be
charged in connection with Mr Ludlow's death added to the
'constitutional issues' which the tribunal would have to contend with.
added that even if a criminal prosecution was taken, the Good Friday
Agreement could result in a person convicted in relation to his murder
availing of the prison release scheme on the basis that the murder was
the Ludlow case was 'not closed', he added, saying that gardai could
still interview suspects in relation to his death.