new investigation into the 1976 killing of Co Louth man Séamus
Ludlow by suspected loyalist paramilitaries must be launched by
the Garda, an Oireachtas inquiry has found, writes Mark
Hennessy, Political Correspondent.
its final report into the murder, the inquiry said the Garda had
treated the Ludlow family "in an appalling manner",
even failing to notify them of the inquest into his death.
"The gardaí do not seem to have made any inquiries in
Northern Ireland in 1976 or seriously considered the possibility
of collusion," (by members of the British security forces)
Ludlow was shot three times at close range and dumped in a ditch
after he had left a local pub near his Thistle Cross, Dundalk
home on May 1st, 1976. His reputation was badly tarnished in the
months after the killing because gardaí believed he was an IRA
member shot as an informer.
a Garda inquiry in the mid-1990s it emerged that the RUC had
told gardaí about four suspects for the killing in 1979 - but
detectives failed to take the opportunity to interview the four
men. The men were eventually interviewed in 1998, though the
Northern Ireland director of public prosecutions decided not to
prosecute due to insufficient evidence.
Garda Síochána should now co-operate with the PSNI's
"cold case" investigation team, which has been given a
£30 million budget to review all unsolved killings from the
it acknowledged that the State's authorities faced major
difficulties during the 1970s, the inquiry said the security and
political crisis at the time did not excuse the fact that the
Ludlow investigation stopped though four suspects had been
identified. "No matter how turbulent the times, the
investigation into the murder of a citizen of the State should
not be sacrificed for any reason," the TDs found.
earlier investigation by former High Court judge, Mr Justice
Henry Barron identified four men, James Fitzsimmons, Richard
Long, Samuel Carroll and Paul Hosking - two of whom served in
the Ulster Defence Regiment at the time, as being involved. A
Commission of Investigation, which has public inquiry-like
powers, though it hears evidence in private, should also be set
up, said the Oireachtas Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's
Rights sub-committee, chaired by Fianna Fáil Dublin South
Central TD Seán Ardagh.
it has emerged that gardaí interviewed witnesses in Northern
Ireland on three occasions during the 1970s, though former Garda
commissioner Larry Wren told the inquiry that gardaí were
blocked from doing so by a 1953 directive.
committee found "a clear conflict" exists between Mr
Wren and former Det Insp John Courtney, who claims that Mr Wren
stopped him travelling to the North to interview the suspects.
In a March 2006 letter, the garda stated that numerous gardaí
had travelled into the North to interview suspects about an
armed robbery at Dundalk railway station in February 1973 and
two murders in Donegal in 1972, while detectives travelled to
Guernsey to interview people about the murder of Robert Munro
Nish, whose body was found outside Castlebellingham, Co Louth,
in May 1972.
with the committee's findings, Mr Ludlow's nephew, Michael
Donegan said the Government does not want to have all the
evidence heard in public. The Government, he said, had demanded
rightly that the British government launch a full public inquiry
into the 1989 killing of Belfast solicitor, Pat Finucane - yet
it wants to operate by a lower standard about killings in the
extended Ludlow family said some witnesses are only prepared to
co-operate with a full public inquiry.
© The Irish Times