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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 Mrs Nan Sharkey, sister of the late Seamus Ludlow, 24 January 2006:

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.

Mrs. Nan Sharkey: Seamus lived with me, or I lived with him.  He was a very good fellow.  He was a very good living chap.  He never got into any trouble and he was good to his parents.  Anywhere he went, he would tell me who he got a lift from or who he got home with.  He never gave any trouble to anyone.

Chairman: He was living with Mrs. Sharkey.

Mrs. Sharkey: Yes.  He was very kind to my children.  He was a good living man too so there is no one to say anything about him.

Chairman: Is there something Mrs. Sharkey wishes to say in relation to her mother?

  Mrs. Sharkey: She never knew what happened him.  It just killed her; that was it.  Seamus was her God.  She never got better after that.

Chairman: Did Mrs. Sharkey have difficulty in telling her mother at the time?

Mrs. Sharkey: We had to tell her he was in a car accident.  We could not tell her the way he was shot.  She died not knowing.  She never knew about it.  You could not tell her; she was confined to bed.  She was heartbroken.

Chairman: Who was living with Mrs. Sharkey and Seamus?  Were there many in the household at the time?

Mrs. Sharkey: My family and my husband.

Chairman: Were there many children?

Mrs. Sharkey: I had ten.

Chairman: You are a great woman.

Mrs. Sharkey: I am here anyway.

Chairman: Perhaps Deputy Peter Power and Deputy Murphy might enter into dialogue with Mrs. Sharkey on the matter.

Deputy P. Power: I thank Mrs. Sharkey for attending today.  I join my colleagues in expressing our sympathy for the hurt and trauma which she and the wider family have gone through over the past 20 or 30 years.  As a committee, we recognise her bravery in attending here, which is not the easiest of environments.  We are used to it but it might not be as easy for Mrs. Sharkey.  I thank her for attending.

Seamus lived with Mrs. Sharkey and I would like to ask her a number of questions about the immediate aftermath of the murder and her contact with the Garda.  She indicated he always related to her what he was doing, he was never in any trouble and he led a straightforward, simple life.  Leaving aside the huge shock-----

Mrs. Sharkey: He never even stayed away from the house.  He always came home.  He never stayed away a night.  That was the only night he did not came home.  My mother did not know it until that Sunday evening.  I did not tell her that he had not come home.

Deputy P. Power: Leaving aside the desperate shock and trauma of his murder, it must have been a terrible bolt out of the blue to hear from officialdom that he may, in some way, have been connected with the IRA.  If, as Mrs. Sharkey said, he was at home every night, that would be inconsistent with being a member of that organisation.  How did Mrs. Sharkey feel when the gardaí came to her and said their belief was he was tied up with the IRA?  What was her reaction to that?

Mrs. Sharkey: We knew he was not in any organisation at all.  He was a fellow who kept to himself.  He went out and had a drink on a Saturday night and that was it.

Deputy P. Power: Did Mrs. Sharkey challenge the gardaí at the time?  That would not have been easy but did the family say they could not understand how he would be involved with the IRA?

  Mrs. Sharkey: We did not.  They drifted away then after that.  We did not see much of them and they never came back.

Deputy P. Power: Did the gardaí give an explanation as to how they based their judgment that he was involved with the IRA?

Mrs. Sharkey: They did not say anything to me but they did say it to some of the family.


   Deputy P. Power: That question might be directed elsewhere later.

  I move forward to when the family was informed by a journalist that credible information had emerged that the murder was committed by loyalist paramilitaries.  Am I correct that the family believed the Garda for all those years?  It must have come as a bolt out of the blue to hear an organisation other than the IRA had committed the murder.  How did the family feel when it heard that completely different information?

Mrs. Sharkey: We did not believe it was the IRA anyway.  It was a while before we heard who it was.

Deputy P. Power: When the family was told it was not the Red Hand Commandoes or people linked to that organisation and not the IRA, what was the impact on the family?

Mrs. Sharkey: We were all annoyed.  It was not nice.  The Garda did not do anything.

Deputy P. Power: Was there a sense of betrayal that gardaí had led the family to believe something totally untrue?

Mrs. Sharkey: The gardaí never said anything to me about it but they kept saying it to other family members.

Deputy P. Power: I thank Mrs. Sharkey again from attending the sub-committee.  Her contribution will form an important part of our report.  It is important for us to understand the impact actions by certain gardaí had on individual citizens.

Deputy G. Murphy: I, too, welcome the members of the Ludlow-Sharkey family.  It must be extremely difficult to have to relive that part of their lives.  I want to follow up on the original assertion made by the Garda that the IRA committed the murder and the suggestion he may have been an informer.  Did this have a major impact locally on the family?  Was there a lot of talk and rumours?

Mrs. Sharkey: We knew he was not.  There was nothing like that.  He was a good chap and a good living man.

Deputy G. Murphy: I know that was the case and Mr. Justice Barron came to that conclusion.  I just wonder what affect it had on the family among the local community.

Mrs. Sharkey: We all had to listen to the rumours.  What else could we have done?  A lot was said that was not correct.

Deputy G. Murphy: How long was the family left under that impression?

Mrs. Sharkey: I do not know, a good while, for approximately 20 years. 

Deputy G. Murphy: Was it the Garda which gave members of the family this impression initially?

Mrs. Sharkey: Yes.

  Deputy G. Murphy: After that, when the Barron report was published and Mr. Justice Barron came to the conclusion that a loyalist action had been responsible, did the Garda make any effort to-----

Mrs. Sharkey: No.  It did wrong.

Deputy G. Murphy: The Barron report concluded that the Garda investigation had been good as good as it could have been given the way the Garda operated at the time.  What was the family's general reaction to this?

Mrs. Sharkey: I forget what it was.

Deputy G. Murphy: Was it disappointed with that aspect of the outcome?

Mrs. Sharkey: Yes, we were.

Deputy G. Murphy: Does the family still feel the only way to resolve the matter is to hold a public inquiry?

Mrs. Sharkey: Yes, we would love to have it.

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


Bank of Ireland
78 Clanbrassil Street
County Louth

Account No. 70037984 

   Thank You. 

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