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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

Joint Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights

Sub-Committee on the Barron Report on the Murder of Seamus Ludlow


Open hearings of the Joint Oireachtas sub-committee on Justice's inquiry into the recently published Barron Report into the 1976 murder of Seamus Ludlow commenced on 24 January 2006 with submissions from several members of the extended Ludlow family. In the afternoon session important submissions were also made by Justice for the Forgotten and British Irish Rights Watch.

Joint Oireachtas sub-committee sessions continued the following week on 31 January and 1 February, with important evidence taken from retired Gardai and former politicians, as well as the current Garda Commissioner. 

Submission by Kevin Ludlow, only surviving brother of the late Seamus Ludlow, to the Oireachtas sub-committee omn Justice, 24 January 2006:

Chairman: Will Mr. Kevin Ludlow, a brother of the late Seamus Ludlow, address the committee?

Mr. Kevin Ludlow: We lost a brother and it is a shame to think of how the Garda treated the family.  We were treated very badly for 20 years, until we started this process ten years ago.  We got nothing but lies from the Garda, who blamed the IRA or members of the family for what happened.  How they carried on was absolutely wrong.  When I saw the body in the ditch and identified it, I just could not believe it.  To think that our brother was murdered and we were told lies day after day.  Every time we talked to the Garda we got lies, lies, lies.

We should not have had to go through all this for 30 years.  It is a shame to think that a citizen of this State was treated in this way.  We were treated very badly.  One would think the Garda could tell us some truth rather than telling lies all the time.  They could not even tell us when the inquest was on, which was 19 August 1976.  They could not even get that right.  They waited until the last minute before coming to my house - I was away working in Newry - to tell us that the inquest was being held.  They say there was a mix up but how could there be a mix up with such an important inquest?  There could not be a mix up.

That just shows how they were covering up everything all the time.  No matter when we spoke to them all we heard was that it was the IRA.  It might be said in different ways.  Bad language was used at times but I will not repeat it on television.  What they did to us was not fair.

We must have a public inquiry.  We did not even get an apology from the Garda; they have never said they were sorry for anything.  Will there ever be an apology?  I do not know.  My sisters, and the late Paddy and I were treated badly.  Paddy was very great with the Garda but that is how they treated us.  Members of our family are in the Garda but they are not much better.  They would do the same.  I feel bad and so do my sisters.  I never thought we would have this after almost 30 years.  As I say, we are not getting any younger and it is time something came to a head and that it was all straightened out for us.  That is all I can say now.

Chairman: Were you close to your brother?

Mr. K. Ludlow: I was never in the town.  He was living with my sister.  I used to meet him and I would drink with him.  One would think that the gardaí would have done a better job than they did, but no, they could not do that.  They could not do it right.  Imagine being a member of the family.  That just shows you the way they were working, doesn't it?  I do not think I will say any more now.

Chairman: I know it is very difficult for you, Kevin, to come here today and to say what you have said and let us know how emotionally you feel and how you feel about it.  I appreciate it very much. 

Mr. K. Ludlow: We feel very bad now.

 Chairman: I will now invite Deputy Costello and Deputy Hoctor to have a dialogue with you on the matter, if they so wish.

Deputy Costello: Like you, Chairman, I wish to welcome all the members of the Ludlow-Sharkey family here today.  We appreciate the fact that they have come before us.  We know how difficult it is after 30 years and all the trauma and suffering they have experienced to come here and re-open all these old wounds.  We are very pleased that they have come, despite all those difficulties.  We think it is important for the process in which we are engaged that we would hear at first hand what their experiences were over that 30 year period.  We thank them for coming before the committee and making that public statement.  It is important for the committee and for the country at large to hear their voices and their experiences concerning the killing of their brother and what transpired subsequently.

I would like to ask Mr. Kevin Ludlow a few questions, if I may, about the whole matter.  He said that basically he was badly treated by the Garda Síochána and that he was misinformed.  Will he elaborate a bit more on that?  He was the first person to identify his brother's body.

 Mr. K. Ludlow: Yes, I was.

 Deputy Costello: He was there at the spot.  Will he tell us a bit about it?

 Mr. K. Ludlow: My two brothers-in-law were with me - Seán Sharkey and Tommy Fox. 

Deputy Costello: In Ballymascanlon?

Mr. K. Ludlow: Yes, on the bog road.  We came up to the gardaí.  I knew many gardaí there.  We got out of the car and I said, "My brother is missing".  One garda said, "We have taken him in the field down the lane".  When I saw the body I knew it was him.  I went back up to the house to my mother but I could not tell her anything.  There were a lot of neighbours on the road and one fellow said to me, "That's not Seamus".  I said, "It is".  I said that to the gardaí and they brought me back down again.  I said, "That's okay".

Deputy Costello: After that stage, the Garda investigation took place.  What approaches were made in 1976 to the family members?  How did the gardaí interact with them in that first investigation?

Mr. K. Ludlow: Very poorly.  Some 21 days after-----

 Chairman: I appreciate, Kevin, that you have not named any gardaí.

Mr. K. Ludlow: No.

Chairman: I just want to ensure members of the committee and witnesses do not name people.

 Mr. K. Ludlow: I will not name people.

Chairman: Thank you.

 Mr. K. Ludlow: Twenty one days after the murder everything stopped - just ran into the ground.  Everything completely stopped.  Not one detective or garda came back to any of the family to say they were doing this or that.  They just faded away.  It never happened. 

Deputy Costello: The 1976 investigation lasted less than a month in so far as contact with Mr. Ludlow was made. 

Mr. K. Ludlow: It just faded away.

Deputy Costello: After that, what transpired?   Mr. Ludlow said there was mention of IRA-----

Mr. K. Ludlow: I was dealing with a sergeant.  I moved down to Cavan in 1983 and any time we come back to Dundalk I always call to see him.  I met him in June 1995.  That is the last time I talked to him and that is the time he came in with one of my nephews, one of the family. 

Deputy Costello: Were there rumours abroad in relation to who killed Seamus Ludlow, membership of illegal organisations and so on?

Mr. K. Ludlow: No, not at that time.  We were not back working on it until 1995.  They accused a member of the family which was wrong and they knew who did it.  That is why the whole thing closed down after 21 days because they knew who did it and did not want to upset the apple cart. 

 Deputy Costello: The gardaí never said they were sorry.

 Mr. K. Ludlow: Not at all.  They never said they were sorry.

 Deputy Costello: Would an apology from the Garda help at this stage?

Mr. K. Ludlow: None whatsoever.  There was no apology at all.  I do not know if we will ever get an apology.  I think we should get one.  Did the Deputy ask if the family would like an apology?

Deputy Costello: Yes.

Mr. K. Ludlow: Of course we would, for what they did. 

Deputy Costello: As well as that side of the case, the Garda investigation, there was also a major issue in relation to the coroner's inquest. 

Mr. K. Ludlow: The inquest.

Deputy Costello: Yes.  Mr. Ludlow was particularly involved in that.  Will he tell us about that?

Mr. K. Ludlow: I was on holidays in Cavan in the last week of July and the first week of August.  When I came back my neighbour told me the Garda were looking for me.  I thought it was only for the inquest.  I went up to the barracks but there was no word of the inquest.  I went back to work on Tuesday - I was working in Newry - and at 10.15 a.m. a garda called to the house and said the inquest was on at 11 a.m.  I asked if it could be put back because I was working in Newry.  He said they could not because it was first on the list and it had to be heard first.  That was wrong, was it not?

Deputy Costello: Mr. Ludlow was not contacted.  No contact was made until that point.  No previous contact was made at all.

Mr. K. Ludlow: No.

Deputy Costello: No garda came before the-----

Mr. K. Ludlow: No.

Deputy Costello: There was no communication.

Mr. K. Ludlow: There was no communication at all.

Deputy Costello: What about the rest of the family?

Mr. K. Ludlow: There was none at all. 

Deputy Costello: Mr. Ludlow has serious criticism about the manner in which coroner's inquest took place.

Mr. K. Ludlow: Yes.

 Deputy Costello: The family would welcome an apology from the Garda.

   Mr. K. Ludlow: I would think so. 

   Deputy Hoctor: I join my colleagues in welcoming the family and the legal team.  We very much appreciate their presence here however difficult it is.  Like Deputy Costello, I will direct a few questions to Mr. Kevin Ludlow.  Early in the Barron report, it refers to the journalist who contacted the family approximately 20 years after Seamus's death and who, no doubt, played a significant role up to this point.  Will Mr. Ludlow tell us about the role of the journalist?  Did he first make contact in 1995 or was Mr. Ludlow aware of his work and his research prior to that?

 Mr. K. Ludlow: The first time I met him was in 1995.  He was very good to us.  He gave us names but it ended up afterwards that we got the right names from that.  After all, it must be remembered that the Garda had those names from the very start and it was nothing new to it to think that we found it out.

 Deputy Hoctor: Mr. Justice Barron mentions in the final conclusion that it is his belief that it was a random killing.  Does Mr. Ludlow accept this?

 Mr. K. Ludlow: I would say it was a random killing.

 Deputy Hoctor: What were the reasons the Garda delayed the investigation, the evidence was lost and the Garda appeared to do nothing to correct the false impression that Seamus was a possible IRA informant?

 Mr. K. Ludlow: They said he was an IRA informant and that is why the IRA killed him, which was wrong.  These were the lies they were giving out about the man.  Seamus worked for another party at elections in Ravensdale and he definitely had nothing to do with the IRA.  The IRA had no call to kill him anyway - definitely not.  This is the way it was doing these things, just to blacken the family.

Deputy Hoctor: Has Mr. Ludlow come to any conclusion as to why the Garda acted as it did or failed to act as he would have liked?

 Mr. K. Ludlow: They just did not care about us.   They just said that it was only the Ludlow family.  They did not care.  They obviously did not care given the way they covered it all up.  They treated us very badly.

 Deputy Hoctor: What would Mr. Ludlow like the committee to do or how would he like to see us proceed from the hearings?

Mr. K. Ludlow: We want to get a public inquiry.  That is what we are looking for.

Chairman: I thank Mr. Ludlow.  I ask Mrs. Nan Sharkey, a sister of Seamus, to tell us about Seamus, how she feels about it and what she wants to say


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Download the Barron Report from the Oireachtas website (pdf file)


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Copyright © 2006 the Ludlow family. All rights reserved.
Revised: February 07, 2006