The Barron Inquiry - Draft Terms of Reference for Inquiry - A Fresh Inquest - BIRW Report - Witness Account - Ludlow Family Account - Sunday World report May 1976 - Meeting the Police Ombudsman - ED Moloney Radio Interview - 25th Anniversary - Profile - Questions - Photographs - Press Release - Letter to RUC - Magill article 1999 - Press Coverage - Barron Report Published - Download the Barron Report from the Oireachtas website (pdf file) - Statement from Justice for the Forgotten - Joint statement from Justice for the Forgotten, Relatives for Justice and the Pat Finucane Centre
Quoting from the Barron Report into the murder of Seamus Ludlow. Published 3 November 2005
The Coroner for Co. Louth in 1976 was Dr Thomas Scully. He confirmed to C/SuptMurphy that it was his practice to notify the local Gardaí of his intention to hold an inquest and to then agree a suitable date with them. The Gardaí were tasked with notifying all the relevant witnesses and relatives.
The inquest into the death of Seamus Ludlow was held on 19 August 1976. None ofhis family was present, and it appears from C/Supt Murphy’s inquiries that none of them was in fact notified in sufficient time for them to attend.
It seems that some efforts were made by Gardaí to contact Kevin Ludlow, brother ofthe deceased, on the day of the inquest itself. His wife, Agnes, stated that a Garda officer whom she did not know had called to their home at 10.15 a.m. and informed her of the inquest, which was due to start in Dundalk at 11 a.m:
"I asked him if he could put it back and he said no. The reason I wanted it putback was that Kevin, my husband was in work in Newry that day which was about 15 miles away and I had no way of contacting him and in any event it would be too late for the inquest by the time he returned to Dundalk."
Agnes Ludlow then walked two miles to the office of Kevin’s employers and askedthem to let him know about the inquest. A message was duly conveyed to him at about 11.45 a.m. It was too late by then for him to leave work and travel to Dundalk.
Other members of the Ludlow-Sharkey family confirmed to C/Supt Murphy that thisrepresented the sole attempt by Gardaí to contact the family, and that the failure to notify the family was a source of great annoyance to them.
Sergeant Jim Gannon was the officer in charge of Dromad Garda station at the time.On 16 January 1997, he wrote a letter to Kevin Ludlow’s solicitors in which he stated:
"In relation to the inquest, I wish to state that a member attached to Dundalkstation had, at the time, been given the task of notifying witnesses and family of the inquest, but it appears he overlooked your client. I only became aware of this on the date of the inquest and did everything I could to correct the situation."
In an interview with C/Supt Murphy on 26 August 1998, he confirmed that he had nofunction or responsibility in regard to notifying the Ludlow family of the date of the inquest; but that he had tried to make contact with Kevin Ludlow on the morning of the inquest, and had had the information conveyed to his home.
C/Supt Murphy’s report concluded:
"Due to the lapse of time and the unavailability of records it is not nowpossible to establish who was detailed to notify the Ludlow family and relatives of the inquest. The notification of inquests to all interested parties and witnesses is usually a function of the Gardaí. From the facts disclosed it does appear that members of the Ludlow family and relatives of Seamus Ludlow were not notified of the inquest. It was a traumatic period for the Ludlow family and their apparent annoyance is understandable."38
The relevant file relating to the holding of the inquest is kept by the County Registrar.This shows that inquest was treated as a formal proceeding, where evidence had to be adduced as to the identity of the deceased, the carrying out of the post-mortem examination on the body, and the resultant conclusion as to cause of death.
In pursuance of this, three depositions were sent to the coroner by a Sergeant Byrne ofDromad Garda Station, Co. Louth. In a letter to the coroner dated 11 August 1976, he wrote that the inquest had been arranged for hearing at the courthouse Dundalk, on Thursday 19 August 1976, at 3 pm. He attached the three depositions, one each from State pathologist Dr. J.F.A. Harbison, Sergeant J. Gannon of Dromad Garda Station, and Kevin Ludlow. The letter also indicated that the persons named above had been notified to attend as witnesses.
At the hearing, although Kevin Ludlow did not appear (because the failure to notifyhim), Sergeant Gannon was in a position to give evidence as to the identity of the deceased in his place. On the deposition prepared for Kevin Ludlow, there is a note in the coroner’s handwriting:
"Not in attendance, away on holiday - just back - working in Newry. Couldnot be contacted."
On the deposition prepared for Sergeant Gannon, there is the following note:
"Srg. Gannon stated that he knew Seamus Ludlow before the event".
The deposition was signed by Sergeant Gannon.
37Statement of Daniel Boyle, 6 November 1998.
38 Report of C/Supt Murphy, 17 November 1998.
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The Ludlow family supports the campaign by the Rooney and Watters families of Dundalk for an inquiry into the murderous Dundalk Bombing of 19 December 1975 which resulted in the sectarian murder of Jack Rooney and Hugh Watters.
Further information can be accessed at their campaign website.
Relatives for Justice http://www.relativesforjustice.com/
Pat Finucane Centre http://www.www.patfinucanecentre.org
British Irish Rights Watch http://www.birw.org/
Irish Council for Civil Liberties http://www.iccl.ie/
Celtic League http://www.manxman.co.im/cleague/index.html
Justice for the Forgotten at http://www.dublinmonaghanbombings.org/
The 1st. Barron Report on the May 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings can be downloaded in pdf format from: http://www.irlgov.ie/oireachtas/Committees-29th-D%E1il/jcjedwr-debates/InterimDubMon.pdf
The 2nd.Barron Report on the Dublin Bombings of 1972 and 1973, and other incidents along the Irish border, can be downloaded in pdf form from: http://www.oireachtas.ie/documents/committees29thdail/jcjedwr/Dublin_Barron_Rep031204.pdf
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