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The Newry Democrat, 7 February 2006:
Gardai were told not to act on Ludlow case
by Brian Hyland
A former Garda detective superintendent said he was disappointed that four loyalists identified by the RUC to Gardai weren't questioned by detectives in the Republic, the Oireachtas Justice Sub-Committee has heard..
John Courtney, speaking about his and the Gardai role in the investigation into the murder of Dundalk man Seamus Ludlow, repeated his claims in the Barron report that Detective Sergeant Dan Boyle told him in 1979 that former Garda Commissioner Larry Wren had advised senior officers that no further action should be taken in the case.
"I was really interested to have those suspects followed up," he said.
"It was part of my job at the time to have then interviewed because I was satisfied they were good suspects for the murder. I was satisfied about that."
Mr Wren later told last week's Sub-Committee hearing that he did not accept the conclusion in the report that it was "most probable" that the decision not to interview the four loyalists was made by him.
After questioning by Labour Party TD Joe Costello, Mr Wren replied: "How this conclusion can be reached beggars comprehension. Detective Supt Courtney's direct superiors don't appear to have any knowledge of his efforts in this regard.
"If those four suspects were extradited, the RUC would be looking for four IRA suspects to be extradited back to Belfast,"
The Sub-Committee, which heard calls for an independent statutory inquiry from Ludlow family members last week, is expected to report to the Government before the end of March.
Mr Ludlow, a forestry worker, was abducted outside Dundalk by masked men and shot dead on May 2, 1976, but it was later revealed that the RUC had identified four loyalists they suspected of being involved in the murder. This prompted the the Irish Government to order Justice Barron to conduct a series of investigations into the murder, particularly collusion between loyalists and security forces in the North, which resulted in last November's Barron Report and the current hearings, which continue today (Feb 7).
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