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The Irish Independent, 2 February 2006:
Force failed Ludlow family, admits Garda
Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy has apologised to the family of the late Seamus Ludlow for the failure of the force in the investigation of Mr Ludlow's murder almost 30 years ago.
He also apologised for the failure of the gardai to notify relatives about the inquest into his death.
"I regret very much that we did not bring this case to a satisfactory conclusion and the management of the gardai feel the same way," the commissioner said.
And he added that he would have no problem asking the PSNI if there was anything else they could do to re-open the investigation into the murder of the 47-year-old forestry worker who was shot dead outside Dundalk on May 2, 1976.
But he told the Joint Oireachtas sub committee on Justice yesterday that it was quite possible that the PSNI had exhausted their powers in relation to the case.
Four people were arrested and questioned about Mr Ludlow's murder but the DPP in the North had said that there was insufficient evidence to bring a criminal prosecution.
The Commissioner agreed that there had been co-operation between the RUC (now the PSNI) and Gardai at the time of Mr Ludlow's murder, but said that he found it strange that the RUC had not passed on information they had about the four suspects to gardai until 10 months after the crime.
"Maybe the RUC were protecting an informer?" he said.
Earlier Commissioner Conroy's predecessor Pat Byrne told the Committee that it was the responsibility of the gardai to take the next step once the RUC had identified four suspects to them.
"I am of the view that the system failed and I point the finger at the gardai.
"I don't know what happened. I cannot identify a particular person, a number are now dead, but I don't think there was a conspiracy not to pursue the case", Mr Byrne said.
It would be unfair to suggest that the RUC should have taken the lead role in the case, he added.
Mr Byrne said he believed it was a system failure and he wouldn't subscribe to the conspiracy theory that some persons did not want the case solved.
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