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The Barron Inquiry - Draft Terms of Reference for Inquiry - A Fresh Inquest 2005 Inquest Account - BIRW Report - Witness Account - Ludlow Family Account - Sunday World report May 1976 - Meeting the Police OmbudsmanEd Moloney Radio Interview - 25th Anniversary - Profile - Questions - Photographs - Press Release - Letter to  RUC - Magill article 1999 - Press Coverage - Barron Report Published - Ludlow Family Response to Barron Report - Download the Barron Report from the Oireachtas website (pdf file) - Statement from Justice for the Forgotten - Joint Oireachtas Committee Request for Submissions - Joint statement from Justice for the Forgotten, Relatives for Justice and the Pat Finucane Centre - Download Transcript of Ludlow family meeting with Oireachtas Sub-Committee (Word file)

Original Ludlow Family website - Second Ludlow Family website - The Dundalk Bombing

The Irish Times, 1 February 2006:

Wren says decision on Ludlow suspects not his

Christine Newman

Former Garda commissioner Laurence Wren yesterday disputed a finding of the Barron report into the murder of a Co Louth man that it was probably him who had made a decision not to pursue the interrogation of four loyalist suspects in Northern Ireland.

At an Oireachtas justice sub-committee hearing on the Barron report on the murder of Séamus Ludlow, Mr Wren said he did not know how the Barron report reached that conclusion without any evidence.

Mr Wren's evidence differed from that of former supt John Courtney, then of the murder squad, who said he had been told Mr Wren had made the decision not to question the suspects.

Mr Ludlow (47), a single man and forestry worker, was shot dead on May 2nd, 1976, at Thistle Cross, Dundalk, as he went home after a night out. The Barron report said he had no connections with any subversive organisation.

No one has ever been charged with the murder. The report states the RUC told the Garda in 1979 it believed four named loyalists were involved in Mr Ludlow's killing but the information was not pursued by gardaí.

Yesterday Mr Wren, who was at the time deputy commissioner and head of C3, an intelligence-gathering unit, said as he understood it the then Supt Courtney said he approached a Det Sgt Dan Boyle in C3 to make the application to pursue the four suspects.

"It's a rather curious way of going about it as he could have approached his own superior officers," he said.

"I was one of the ones being criticised and I certainly had no part in the investigation. There is no way I could have authorised Supt Courtney or anybody else to travel up," Mr Wren said.

At no stage was the issue discussed with him or was he approached about it, he said.

He said both the policy in a directive signed in 1953 and the legal position were that gardaí were prevented from going up to interrogate suspects in political or subversive cases in the North.

Mr Wren said he had never heard of Supt Courtney's request to question the suspects. C3 had no authority to allow anybody to go outside the jurisdiction to question suspects.

When asked about former commissioner Pat Byrne's conclusion that any decision not to proceed could only have been made by Mr Wren in consultation with the Department of Justice, he replied: "Not correct as far as I'm concerned."

Mr Courtney told the committee he was given the names of four loyalist suspects by the RUC 18 months after the murder.

He said he was in regular touch with C3.

"I was disappointed that there wasn't something done about getting the suspects interviewed. All I could do was take directions," he said.

He was in touch Det Sgt Boyle in C3 whom he knew well and he told him no action was to be taken.

When asked if he was told by Det Sgt Boyle that it was Mr Wren who made the decision, Mr Courtney replied: "I'm certain about that." He added that he had never spoken directly with Mr Wren.

He was told that if they had allowed it, the RUC would look for reciprocal arrangements.

The then minister for justice, Gerard Collins, said there were no extradition facilities at the time.

"The key question is why the RUC did nothing about it and why they did not say anything about it for 18 months," he said.

He said there was no reason why the RUC could not have carried out an investigation themselves in Northern Ireland.

Former assistant commissioner Joseph Ainsworth, who took over as head of security, formerly C3, said he never saw the Ludlow file. It never appeared.

Arriving in Dublin for the continuing Joint Oireachtas sub-committee hearing into Seamus Ludlow's murder were (from left): Maura McKeever (daughter of Jack Rooney, who was killed in the Dundalk bombing of 19 December 175), Eileen Boland (niece of Seamus Ludlow), Nicholas Sharkey and Jimmy Sharkey (nephews of Seamus Ludlow). Photograph from The Irish Times, 1 February 2006. Photographer: Dara Mac Donaill


I Top I I 

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Copyright © 2006 the Ludlow family. All rights reserved.
Revised: February 02, 2006