Seamus Ludlow left a Dundalk pub and walked towards his death on the
night of May 2 1976, he could not know he would also become the centre
of a scandal based on allegations of collusion.
47-year-old bachelor had not been a headline-maker when alive.
Described as an "unassuming man", Mr Ludlow lived with his
mother, sister, her husband and the couple's large family in Thistle
worked in a number of labourer jobs and, at the time of his death, was
employed as a forester at a sawmill.
recent report, former Supreme Court judge Mr Justice Henry Barron
supported persistent claims by his family that he had no subversive
night of his murder witnesses recall seeing Mr Ludlow hitching a lift
shortly after leaving a pub and walking homewards.
believed he was picked up by his loyalist killers just outside the
was found dumped in a laneway the following day. He had been shot three
outset, his family were frustrated by the nature of the Garda
investigation and their treatment at the hands of investigating
claimed the dead man had links to the IRA and had been killed because he
was an informer, an allegation always denied by his relatives.
August 1976 an inquest was held. The Ludlow family was not present,
later claiming they had not been informed it was taking place.
also said no ballistic or forensic evidence was presented.
Garda investigation had already been wound up, with no-one charged with
next two decades the family waited for a development in the case,
feeling betrayed by the authorities.
development came when they were contacted in 1995 by journalist Joe
Tiernan. He said gardai had been aware of the identity of the killers
but had failed to act.
Tiernan gave the family the names of the loyalist gang believed to have
been responsible for the fatal attack – Paul Hosking, William Long,
Samuel Carroll, and then UDR corporal James Reid Fitzsimmons – prompting
the Ludlows to call for a public inquiry.
claimed that Mr Ludlow had been the victim of a cover-up by security
forces on both sides of the border.
chiefs ordered Detective Superintendent Ted Murphy to conduct an
internal inquiry to investigate the claims. The contents of the report
were not made public, but last September a new inquest into Mr Ludlow's
death heard that former Detective Inspector John Courtney, a member of
the murder squad, had passed information about the suspects to the Garda
anti-terrorist section in 1979.
action was taken.
February 1998, the four suspects were arrested and interviewed by the
RUC. Gardai were not present at the interviews.
were released without charge, despite the fact that Hosking and
Fitzsimmons had admitted being present at the murder, although insisting
they had no role in it. The other pair denied all knowledge of the
Victims Commission, chaired by former tanaiste John Wilson, also called
for an inquiry – describing as "very disturbing" the allegations about
the conduct of some gardai during the original investigation.
Mr Wilson said he would support the extradition of the four murder
suspects but no action was taken.
August the family erected a plaque in memory of Seamus at the site of
his murder. The plaque read: "In loving memory of Seamus Ludlow, who was
cruelly murdered by UDR/Red Hand Commando on May 2 1976."
Irish government ordered Justice Henry Barron to conduct a series of
investigations into allegations of collusion between loyalists and
security forces in Northern Ireland in a number of attacks in the
his inquiries, which are ongoing, the judge repeatedly complained of a
lack of co-operation from the British authorities.
final report on the Ludlow murder, published last November, was strongly
critical of the Garda.
emerged that the RUC told gardai in 1979 of the four suspects they
believed were involved in the murder, but they were never questioned in
Northern Ireland by gardai.
Justice Barron said the inaction was based on a fear among senior gardai
that they would have to allow the RUC the right to interview suspects in
the Republic in return.
said it was "most probable" that then deputy Garda commissioner Laurence
Wren made the decision not to pursue the RUC's information.
has strongly denied the judge's suggestion.
Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights,
chaired by Fianna Fail TD Sean Ardagh, is today set to begin hearings on
the Barron report.
hearings will begin at 10am when a witness list will be released.
the family continue to insist that they will only be satisfied with a
full public inquiry into the killing.
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