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The Irish Times, 17 February 2006:

Barron curious about RUC files on Ludlow murder

Christine Newman

The author of the Barron report into the 1976 murder of Seamus Ludlow said yesterday that if his remit had been wider he would want to know what was in RUC files relating to the case.

Mr Justice Henry Barron said he had not received RUC files during his inquiry. He referred to files which may contain certain information on how the RUC came to know about four loyalist paramilitary suspects in the killing.

He was attending the Oireachtas Justice Sub-committee public hearings into his report on the murder.

Mr Ludlow (47), a forestry worker, was shot dead on May 2nd, 1976, at Thistle Cross, Dundalk, Co. Louth, as he went home after a night out. The Barron report said he had no connections with any subversive organisation. No one has ever been charged.

The report said the RUC told the Garda in 1979 it believed four named loyalists were involved in the murdrer but the information was not pursued by gardai.

Yesterday Mr Justice Barron was asked what he would have wished to pursue if he had a wider remit. "I suppose I would have wanted to know what was on the RUC files, how they came to know about this, but we didn't get them," he said.

In the report, it is stated that the only "credible explanation" for the order not to pursue the interrogation of the four suspects in Northern Ireland was to avoid having to grant reciprocal rights to the RUC in the Republic.

Asked about this and whether he thought the decision had a political motivation, he said it was difficult to assess the political situation of over 35 years ago.

"But I think the reality is that it was probably political," he said.

Mr Justice Barron stuck to his conclusion that it was "most probable" that the decision not to pursue it was made by then Garda deputy commissioner Larry Wren who would have discussed it with senior gardai and possibly Department of Justice officials.

At the committee previously, Mr Wren disputed the finding, saying he did not know how the Barron report reached the conclusion without evidence.

Mr Wren, who was head of C3, an intelligence-gathering unit, said he certainly had no part in the inquiry. At no stage was the issue discussed with him nor was he approached about it.

There was no way he could have authorised any garda to travel to Northern Ireland as policy was that gardai were prevented from going up about political or subversive cases, he said.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Barron said such an unusual piece of information had to go to the head of division. It was most unlikely it would have been kept from a senior officer.

If it had been policy for gardai not to go to Northern Ireland, then gardai would have known about it, so why did a senior garda request permission after the four names were disclosed. It was a contradiction, he said. The matter did not go to the Garda Commissioner so if the decision had to be made by the most senior person, that was Mr Wren, he stated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Copyright 2006 the Ludlow family. All rights reserved.
Revised: February 19, 2006