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The Dundalk Democrat, 22 February 2006:
Gardai knew of loyalist killer
File on loyalist went missing after Ludlow murder
by Anne Marie Eaton
An RUC letter sent to Gardai in 1976, gave detals on a loyalist subversive who would be quite capable of coming across the border and it is now widely thought that the man written about is the person who pulled the trigger and murdered Seamus Ludlow only a few weeks later.
The revelation was made by Justice Henry Barron at the Oireachtas Hearings on Seamus' murder which are expected to come to a conclusion in March.
In his first report on the murder Justice Barron said there was a Garda file on one of the four suspects of the killing.
He said "Suspect No 3 was mentioned in a letter from the RUC in April 1976, which would have been, at most, only a couple of weeks before the murder.
"It stated he was one of the active loyalist subversives and quite capable of coming and doing what, in fact, happened."
When asked was there anything in the file to indicate did the RUC make inquiries from the Gardai about the man's potential involvement in any crimes including the Ludlow murder Justice Barron said that specific file had been lost.
Furthermore, it now appears that Gardai in Belfast investigating the Dundalk bombing were taken by surprise when they were handed information on the Ludlow murder suspects even though the RUC alerted the Gardai to this information ten days earlier.
The Barron Report states that a letter from RUC was sent to Gardai which stated that it had been learned from a source, believed to be reliable, that the four suspects were involved in the murder of Seamus Ludlow.
It states that on February 5 this information was conveyed by letter to the divisional officer in Drogheda.
On February 15, then Superintendent John Courtney and Detective Sergeant Owen Corrigan went north.
In addressing the hearings last week Mr Corrigan stated they went north to discuss a matter related to the Dundalk bombing and that they did not go for the purpose of getting more information on the murder of Seamus Ludlow.
Oireachtas Committee member deputy Joe Costello asked Justice Barron: "Between 5 and 15 February there was no investigation In other words, it was still information that was supplied to the authorities in the Republic, and that the investigation might never have happened if, by chance, Superintendent Courtney was not in Belfast and was not briefed by the two RUC special branch officers."
Justice Baron replied: "That is a bit speculative. Just because the information was not given within the period of ten days does not suggest that either the divisional officer himself or C3 would not have taken the matter up again."
However, Deputy Costello seemed to want the matter put plainly: "Superintendent Courtney did not go to Belfast to pursue the murder of Seamus Ludlow", to which Justice Barron said: "That seems to be the situation."
This latest information is something that the Ludlow family feel cannot be ignored and can only strengthen the need for a public inquiry.
Seamus' nephew Jimmy Sharkey said: "It goes to show that files exist with more information on this.
"A public inquiry could uncover even more files. I fel that these files are still being kept back."
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