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The Irish News, 05 November 2005, Editorial:

Ludlow family deserve justice

Seamus Ludlow, who died a brutal and lonely death almost 30 years ago, would have been an entirely unsuspecting victim of a loyalist murder gang.

The 47-year-old forestry worker from Dundalk spent his final evening  in local pubs and was last seen hitching a ride home.

Only a short distance away, across the border, such an innocent activity would have been regarded as highly dangerous and people leaving bars would have been on their guard for any suspicious behaviour.

However, the atmosphere in the Republic would have been much more relaxed.

Seamus Ludlow probably had few qualms about accepting a lift from strangers.

He was not to know  that those he trusted to take him home would in fact take his life.

Mr Ludlow's body was found with three gunshot wounds in a laneway near his house in may 1976.

The pain and anguish suffered by his family at this shattering news was compounded over three decades by the abject failure of the authorities to reveal the truth and bring the killers to justice.

Far from receiving accurate information, the family were wrongly told by gardai that their brother was killed by the IRA, amid claims he had been an informer.

Furthermore, the Garda investigation was suspended after just three weeks and an inquest took place without the presence of the Ludlow family members who apparently "could not be contacted" in time for the hearing.

Even then, the family probably had little idea just how many long years of frustration, anger, division and hurt were to lie ahead.

However, they have doggedly fought on and campaigned about their brother's death and the police investigation which followed.

The latest stage in the campaign came on Thursday with the publication of a 100-page report by Mr Justice Henry Barron.

His inquiry found that Seamus Ludlow's death was a random sectarian murder and named four suspects, including two members of the UDR.

And while the report makes no clear findings about the allegations of collusion, it raises serious concerns about the Garda decision not to pursue these suspects through the RUC at the time.

As a result of a second investigation in 1996 gardai contacted the RUC and the named men were arrested. However, the DPP in Northern Ireland decided not to pursue charges.

Clearly, there are many worrying questions about this murder which have not been fully answered.

The Ludlow family are continuing to press for an independent inquiry and they, like so many other bereaved relatives, deserve to discover the truth.

However, it is unacceptable that these families face enormous difficulties in the rightful pursuit of justice.

I Top I I Barron Report is Published I

See also:

The Irish Sun, 4 November 2005: Storm as Ludlow report is revealed

Daily Ireland, 4 November 2005: Ludlow relatives accuse authorities of not pursuing killers because of fear of upsetting British Family lashes government

The Irish News,  4 November 2005: Ludlow murder 'a random sectarian killing

Irish Daily Star, 4 November 2005: No result in death probe Gardai ignored RUC tip on loyalist killers of Louth man

The Irish News, 5 November 2005: Ludlow family call for public inquiry into death

The Belfast Telegraph, 5 November 2005: Loyalist named in Ludlow murder inquiry admits: I Was There But I Didn't Kill Him

The Belfast Telegraph, 5 November 2005: Ludlow Murder Witness Battles To Clear His Name

Sunday Life, 6 November 2005: 'Murder car' man feels like a victim

The News of the World, 6 November 2005: I'm no killer, says 'branded' UDA man Loyalist hits at Report

The Sunday Life, 6 November 2005: 'Murder car' man feels like a victim

The Irish Times, 8 November 2005: Ludlow family seeks sworn public inquiry

The Dundalk Democrat, 9 November 2005: Full public inquiry is Ludlow aim

The Argus (Dundalk), 11 November 2005: Four suspected of killing named

The Argus (Dundalk), 11 November 2005: Family’s call for a full public inquiry remains unchanged

The Argus (Dundalk), 11 November 2005: “We’re overjoyed all we wanted was truth of killing to emerge”

The Argus (Dundalk), 11 November 2005: Gardai were ordered to ‘abandon’ plans to interview four suspects


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Revised: November 15, 2005 .