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Select these links
to read of recent developments in the Ludlow family's campaign for
a public inquiry into the sectarian murder of Seamus Ludlow (aged
47), Thistlecross, Mountpleasant, County Louth, in May 1976. These
accounts begin with most recent events.
Present - 10 March 2005
March 2005 - 27 November
29 October 2003 - January
4 January 2003 -28 February
28 February 2002 - 1 August
1 July 2001 - 26 April
23 April 2001 -11 August
9 August 2000 -10 June
Latest: Revised: September 20, 2005.
September 2005: Another important development, reported by local LMFM
seek public inquiry into Ludlow killing
County Council is to write to the Taoiseach and Minister for Justice
seeking a full, public and independent inquiry into the murder of
Seamus Ludlow. It follows the adoption of a motion tabled by
councillor Tomas Sharkey. The saw mill worker was shot dead by
loyalists in May 1976 and an inquest earlier this month heard that
gardai knew the identities of his killers within 18 months of the
murder, but failed to take any action.
September 2005: See today's statement from
Mr Bernard Moffatt, Secretary General of the Celtic League, an organisation that
has given the Ludlow family valuable support for a long time now:
MURDER - PRESSURE FOR BRITISH TO REOPEN THE CASE
Foreign Minister should have no difficulty in his avowed
intent to persuade the British government that they should act over
the murder of Co. Louth forestry worker, Seamus Ludlow, almost thirty
In November 2000 the Northern Ireland Office, Security Policy and
Operations Division, assured the Celtic League that it would be keen
to pursue any information pertaining to the killing. . .
view the full statement from the Celtic League use this link.>>>>
September 2005: See The Argus, a local Dundalk newspaper, for
these two reports of this week's fresh inquest for Seamus Ludlow:
of Ludlow's killer known to Gardai
September 2005, See RTE News online: Ahern
to raise Ludlow murder with Hain.
Minister for Foreign Affairs, and TD for Louth, Dermot Ahern, has said
he will raise the sectarian murder of Seamus Ludlow by loyalists with
the British Northern Ireland Secretary, Peter Hain.
Ludlow family had asked the minister to raise the issue to find out
why no one was ever prosecuted for the murder, despite the fact that
two men made statements in 1998, admitting their role in this foul
the Director of Public Prosecutions in Belfast decided not to press
charges. This extraordinary failure to prosecute Seamus Ludlow's
alleged killers has never been explained.
doubt the Ludlow family have many questions for the British
authorities regarding their role in protecting the UDR/Red Hand
Commando killers of Seamus Ludlow.
also: 9 September 2005,
www.online.ie News: Ahern
Murder With Hain
September 2005, The Irish News: Minister
to raise 1976 murder with secretary
September 2005, The Irish Examiner: Ahern
to raise issue of Ludlow murder
September 2005, Daily Ireland: Minister
to raise murder
September 2005, Daily Ireland: Letters
to the Editor - Garda deficiencies run very deep
September 2005: See this report from today's edition of The
Irish News, It has certainly been a busy and eventful
week for the Ludlow family: O'Loan
had concerns over Ludlow probe
Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan had concerns over the investigation into the
loyalist murder of Co Louth man Seamus Ludlow, it has emerged.
Although Mrs O'Loan could not mount a probe as it was outside her
jurisdiction, she examined both RUC files and Garda material relating
to the killing of the forestry worker almost 30 years ago. . .
the full report use this link.>>>>
also: The Irish Sun: Tell
us what you know about Seamus's murder for a report of Joe
Costello TD's (Irish Labour Party) welcome call on Taoiseach
Brertie Ahern to publish the Barron Report on the murder of Seamus
Ludlow as soon as possible because of the disturbing disclosures that
came from this week's second inquest at Dundalk courthouse.
private Barron Report has been with the Irish government since October
2004, and still there is no known date for its publication.
Irish Sunday Mirror, 11 September 2005: Publish
or be damned
September 2005: See the weekly Dundalk
Democrat newspaper's detailed report of the two-day fresh
inquest into the death of Seamus Ludlow.
report features detailed accounts of evidence given by former state
pathologist Professor John
Harbison, who carried out the post mortem examination in 1976.
featured are reports of evidence given by former detectives John
Courtney, who collected a file from the RUC in February 1979
which named the four loyalist suspects in Seamus Ludlow's murder, and Ted Murphy,
the man who conducted the most recent investigation in 1998.
also: The Irish News, 7 September 2005: 'Gardai
evidence strengthens case for public inquiry'
Irish Independent, 7 September 2005: Ludlow
family renew plea for murder inquiry
Irish Times, 7 September 2005: Inquest
told of statements admitting part in killing
Ireland, 7 September 2005: Call
for public inquiry
Belfast Telegraph, 7 September 2005: Probe
call into 1976 murder
September 2005: The following report appeared today on the UTV News
urged to publish Ludlow murder report
The Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is being called on to publish the
report on the investigation into the 1976 murder of Seamus Ludlow. . .
Labour spokesperson for Justice Joe Costello says the investigations
at the time raise serious questions about the administration of
justice on both sides of the border.
September 2005: A
jury at Dundalk courthouse today returned a verdict of unlawful
killing, in accordance with the wishes of the Ludlow family, at the
end of the second inquest into the murder of Seamus Ludlow. The
inquest lasted two days.
afterwards to the press and on national RTE television News bulletins,
the Ludlow family reiterated their demand for a public inquiry into
the murder, saying the inquest had raised many unanswered questions.
was nothing at all revealed from the private Murphy report on the
original murder investigation, much to the dismay of the Ludlow
family. The inquest had been delayed for more than three years because
of the refusal of the gardai to hand this and other documentation over
to the coroner Ronan Maguire.
the Murphy report was eventually handed over to the coroner it was on
the basis that it remained confidential. The coroner would be entitled
to submit sections of the report in the form of submissions to the
inquest at his discretion, though this did not happen. Thus, many of
the answers the Ludlow family hoped this report would provide remain
was also confirmed that two of the fatal bullets used in the killing
of Seamus Ludlow are indeed missing. No trace of them has been found
and no explanation for their disappearance has been offered. In a
revelation further disquieting for the Ludlow family it was also
revealed that Seamus Ludlow's clothing, which might still be useful
for forensic and evidential purposes, have also disappeared. Again, no
explanation was given!
men had been identified to gardaí 19 years earlier as the killers of Seamus
Ludlow, but when the information was passed on to Garda Headquarters,
1996, then Chief Superintendent Ted Murphy was asked by the Garda
Commissioner to re-examine the case surrounding the murder of Seamus
Ludlow was murdered by a gang of four loyalists, now known to be
members of the British Army UDR and the Red Hand Commando murder gang,
just outside Dundalk on 2 May 1976. An inquest was held shortly
afterwards, without the Ludlow family being informed or present, but
the Attorney General in 2002 directed a new inquest be held as a
result of new information.
former Chief Superintendent John Courtney told the inquest that he was
given the names and address of four men by the RUC in 1979 whom he
believed had carried out the murder.
passed that on to Garda Headquarters but despite his request for
authority to proceed, it was not forthcoming.
Chief Supt Murphy today said that in 1996 he contacted the RUC and the
informant who had given information about the four killers.
four loyalists were arrested and taken here to Castlereagh RUC Station
for questioning. Two of them, he said, provided independent and
accurate details about the murder of Seamus Ludlow.
described how the shooting took place in their car and how they left
the body. However, no charges were ever brought against the men.
conclusion of the fresh inquest was widely reported on RTE Television
and Radio News bulletins, as well as the local LMFM Radio. It was also
given good coverage on the national press.
also: RTE News online, 6
September 2005 22:08
killing verdict at Ludlow inquest
September 2005: Today was an important milestone for the Ludlow family
with the opening, after a three year delay, of a fresh inquest into
the death of Seamus Ludlow.
inquest was attended throughout by a large Ludlow family group,
including the late Seamus Ludlow's only surviving brother Kevin, and
his three widowed sisters; Kathleen Donegan, Eileen Fox, and Nan
Sharkey. Many nephews and nieces also attended.
evidence was given by Professor John Harbison, retired Irish State
Pathologist, who carried out the post mortem and gave evidence to the
flawed "inquest" of 19 August 1976.
evidence was given by retired Garda Chief Superintendent John
Courtney, who was involved in the initial murder investigation in May
1976. Mr Courtney testified, under questioning by the Ludlow family's
legal representative, that he received a file from the RUC in February
1979, that the file identified four loyalists as the suspected
murderers of Seamus Ludlow. He testified that he had eliminated any
suspicions of IRA involvement within a few months, even though the
Ludlow family was still being assured many years later by Dundalk
gardai that the IRA was responsible.
for the RUC file, Mr Courtney stated that he had passed it to his
superiors in Dublin Castle, and upon his further inquiries as to
whether he had the authority to have the known suspects questioned, he
was informed that no further action would be taken. He could offer no
explanation for this!
League statement: NEW INQUEST INTO
LUDLOW MURDER OPENS
Television online report: Inquest
into death of Seamus Ludlow
News online report: Second
inquest into Louth murder 05 September 2005 17:19
Belfast Telegraph, 6 September 2005: Garda
'quashed' probe into UDA link to murder
Irish Daily Star, 6 September 2005: 'Gardai
did not follow up on murder details'
Irish Independent, 6 September 2005: Garda
chiefs 'sat on murder report'
TO OPEN AGAIN
inquest is due to open shortly into the death of Seamus Ludlow
– the North Louth man shot dead by loyalists almost 30 years
ago. The 47 year old’s body was found dumped in a laneway near
his home at Thistle Cross in May 1976. His family believe the
murder was covered up by the gardai and the State. Today’s
inquest is being held, at the request of the Attorney General as
the Ludlows weren’t given enough notice of the original
hearing. Surely there should be an
investigation into the Garda cover up of the murder. The Gardai
in the Dundalk area for the last 20-30 years would make the
Gardai in Donegal look like boy scouts.
September 2005: Local LMFM Radio report:
Local News Headlines 1st Sept 2005
Family demand explanation for reports delay
family of a North Louth man murdered by Loyalists almost 30 years
ago are demanding an explanation for the delay in publishing a
report into his killing. A new inquest into the shooting dead of
Seamus Ludlow in May 1976 is being held on Monday next. The
Government have had a copy of the Barron Report into his killing
since last October, but there’s still no sign of publishing
July 2005: In a follow-up The
El Paso Times site briefly names three of the Dundalk gardai
who have been accused of harrassing members of the grieving Ludlow
family in the aftermath of the vile sectarian murder of Seamus Ludlow.
Follow the link given above.
July 2005: The local Dundalk Democrat newspaper features a
front page report titled Website
names the Ludlow four about the publication of four
loyalist suspects' names on the El Paso Times web site. The
Democrat quotes an unnamed member of the Ludlow family who reacts
to the naming of the four suspects:
Ludlow's nephew said the four names published on the website were
not a surprise to him or any of his family.
names have been cropping up for years. The names are nothing new to
hearings into a second inquest on Seamus Ludlow's death have been
held and the inquest is expected to get under way on September 5.
Coroner Ronan Maguire has said that the publication of the names on
the website will have no effect on the inquest
the link above to read the full Dundalk Democrat report.
July 2005: In a fresh and surprising development, a Dundalk web site, The
El Paso Times, not connected to the Ludlow family,
published a report naming the four suspects who were arrested in 1998
for questioning about the murder of Seamus Ludlow.
two of the suspects have identified themselves previously in the
press, the Ludlow family has not sought to name them all publicly. Two
of the suspects had never been named, though their names were also
known to the Ludlow family since 1998.
El Paso Times' report follows:
El Paso Times has been given the full names of the murderers of
Dundalk man Seamus Ludlow. Two of the murderers were serving British
soldiers at the time of the murder. It is believed that the original
target of the gang was a well known republican who was living in Bay
Estate at the time. For some unknown reason the gang never reached
their original target. They picked up Seamus Ludlow who was thumbing a
lift at the time on the Newry rd near the Lisdoo. Because the Gardai
and Irish governments didnt want to cause a political storm with their
masters the British the Gardai put out locally that the local IRA were
behind the murder. The Dundalk Gardai even went as far as arresting
members of the Ludlow family and questioning members of the family
about the murder. Within weeks of the murder the RUC passed on details
of the real murderers to the Gardai and the Irish government but they
chose to ignore the information and closed the investigation. The
family have tirelessly campaigned for a full public enquiry because of
the disgraceful way the entire investigation was handled. This case is
not unlike the Mc Brearty case in Donegal, involving local Garda
corruption and cover-ups
El Paso Times report is published here, without the final sentence
giving the suspects' names. These, of course, can be viewed on The
El Paso Times' site by following the link given here >>>>.
June 2005: Important new contact information received from our friends
at The Pat Finucane Centre, Derry:
web address and e-mail
of today our new website address is www.patfinucanecentre.org
and our new e-mail address will be [email protected]
The old emails will function until the end of June but it is
advisable to begin replacing now
Ludlow family appreciates the valued support it has received from the
Pat Finucane Centre. The Centre's website features detailed
information about the murder of Seamus Ludlow as well as many other
victims of British state killings in Ireland.
June 2005: The Louth Coroner Ronan Maguire received written
submissions from legal representatives for the Garda Commissioner and
the Ludlow family regarding the
scope of the matters which the inquest into the death of Seamus Ludlow
will be able to inquire into.
coroner also confirmed that 5 September 2005 will be the date on which
he will begin the fresh inquest into the death of Seamus Ludlow. This
will be more than three full years since the inquest had been ordered
by the attorney general.
the Garda who had dealt with the forensic investigations at the time
of Seamus Ludlow's murder in 1976 was now dead, the coroner had
received a report from the Garda ballistic team. Mr. Maguire undertook
to supply a copy of that report to Mr. James MacGuill, solicitor, who
acts for the Ludlow family.
The Argus (Dundalk), 17 June 2005: Ludlow
inquest adjourned to autumn >>>>
also: The Dundalk
Democrat, 15 June 2005: Coroner
receives ballistics report on Ludlow after 29-year wait
May 2005: Jane Winter, Director of London-based BRITISH
IRISH Rights Watch (BIRW), in her monthly
report, made the following comment regarding the recent
preliminary hearing for an inquest intro the death of Seamus Ludlow.
into the death of seamus ludlow
preliminary hearing into the second inquest into the murder in 1976 of
Seamus Ludlow in Dundalk, allegedly by loyalists some of whom were
serving soldiers, was held on 24th May. The full
inquest is due to be held on 5th September 2005. BIRW
is hoping to send an independent observer to the hearing.
can be no doubt that the Ludlow family would be very honoured to have
Jane or any other representative of BIRW present at the inquest in
September. The Ludlow family has been grateful for Jane's valuable
support and advice for several years now.
2005: At last the Ludlow family's near thirty-year-long wait for truth
nears an end with a date being set for the full inquest into the
death of Seamus Ludlow.
Coroner Ronan Maguire set 5 September 2005 at a preliminary hearing in
Dundalk courthouse. it is expected to last for a number of days.
Coroner read a letter from the Attorney General confirming the Ludlow
family's grave objections to the original sham inquest of August 1976.
They had been denied participation in that inquest and important
evidence had not been available or presented at the inquest. Nor had
the gardai called for an adjournment so that they could continue with
their investigation. Of course the Ludlow family was not aware at that
time that the murder investigation had been effectively abandoned
after only 19 days!
surprising development, the lawyer for the Garda Commissioner,
informed the inquest that the Assistant Commissioner is willing to be
a liaison officer for the Ludlow family. It is regrettable that the
gardai have been obstructive in their dealings with the Ludlow family
throughout this long struggle for justice. Liaison was never on offer!
), 27 May 2005:
set for second inquest into Seamus Ludlow murder
2005: The following kind message was received from Jane Winter,
Director of British Irish Righs Watch (BIRW), London. Jane,
unfortunately, will not be able to attend the preliminary hearing for
Seamus Ludlow's inquest, which opens in Dundalk, 24 May:
I’m so sorry I can’t be there tomorrow, owing to a prior
commitment to attend the opening of the Robert Hamill Inquiry.
However, James has promised to keep me informed.
I hope that it goes well. I know it will be a difficult day for
you all, but I hope it marks the beginning of obtaining justice for
With best regards,
May 2005: The following was issued by the Pat Finucane Centre, Derry
preliminary hearing in advance of a full inquest into the murder of
Seamus Ludlow opens in the Dundalk Courthouse on Tuesday.
Seamus Ludlow was abducted and killed by loyalists in May of
One of his attackers is believed to have been a MI5 or RUC
Special Branch agent. No one has ever been charged with his murder.
The family alleges “massive wrongdoing” by both Irish and
inquiry into the murder of Robert Hamill will begin Tuesday at the
For eight years the family has struggled to get justice for
Robert, who was attacked by a mob and beaten to death in front of
the RUC. in April of 1997. No
one has been convicted of the killing.
Murder charges against six men were withdrawn through lack of
evidence and charges against a police officer for obstructing
justice were controversially withdrawn.
information is available on the Pat Finucane Centre website at www.serve.com/pfc
also www.nuzhound.com for
recent news articles.
May 2005: See today's issue of The Sunday Tribune for Northern
Editor Suzanne Breen's report headlined:
May 2005: At last, the announcement that the Ludlow family has been
waiting for now almost three years! The local LMFM Radio station
revealed the date for a preliminary hearing for a fresh inquest into
the death of Seamus Ludlow. LMFM reports:
first concrete steps have been taken towards holding a new inquest
into the death of Seamus Ludlow - the
man murdered by loyalists 29 years ago. It's claimed that the
47-year-old forestry worker was shot dead by members of the Red Hand
Commandoes. The preliminary hearing will take place in
on Monday week 23rd May.
08 May 2005 See
the report Coroner
to re-examine 1976 murder by Barry O'Kelly in The
Sunday Business Post:
The Co Louth coroner, Ronan Maguire,
confirmed this weekend that he would hold a fresh inquest into the
controversial killing following a campaign by
have been requested to do so by the Attorney General. There will be a
preliminary hearing at the end of the month, in advance of a full
inquest,” the coroner told The Sunday Business Post.
The victim's family believes that
died at the hands of two members of the British Army's Ulster Defence
Regiment (UDR) and the loyalist Red Hand Commandos in Co Down. The
family's campaign, led by Kevin Ludlow, the only surviving brother of
Seamus, and nephews Jimmy Sharkey and Michael Donegan, are seeking a
public inquiry into his death and the alleged cover-up afterwards.
“At first, the Garda claimed to the family that Seamus had been
murdered by the IRA because he was an informer,” said Jimmy Sharkey
“That was the line they put out. It is now known that both the Garda
and the RUC were aware that the killers were, in fact, loyalists.
“They knew that the killers included at least twolocally recruited
members of the British Army.”
The Police Ombudsman in the North, Nuala O'Loan, has told the family
that police had intelligence on the four-man gang within a year of the
murder, according to Sharkey.
“The killers all came from the Comber and Newtownards areas of north
“Information which would have identified these killers was
suppressed for more than 20 years, allowing these men to remain free -
and at liberty to kill again.
“The question is: why were these men being protected?
“Why were they above the law?” said Sharkey. . . .
this link to read the full report from The
Sunday Business Post article. >>>