The Barron Inquiry - Draft Terms of Reference for Inquiry - A Fresh Inquest - BIRW Report - Witness Account - Ludlow Family Account - Sunday World report May 1976 - Meeting the Police Ombudsman - ED Moloney Radio Interview - 25th Anniversary - Profile - Questions - Photographs - Press Release - Letter to RUC - Magill article 1999 - Press Coverage - Barron Report Published - Download the Barron Report from the Oireachtas website (pdf file) - Statement from Justice for the Forgotten - Joint statement from Justice for the Forgotten, Relatives for Justice and the Pat Finucane Centre
Quoting from the Barron Report into the murder of Seamus Ludlow. Published 3 November 2005:
ALLEGATIONS OF IRA INVOLVEMENT IN LUDLOW MURDER:
Statements attributed to Gardaí:
In their letter to the Garda Commissioner dated 27 April 1996, the Ludlow-Sharkeyfamily claimed that Gardaí in 1976 "continually" led them to believe that republican subversives were responsible for Seamus Ludlow’s murder.
At a meeting with Gardaí in the Ludlow family home in May 1996, Kevin Ludlowsaid that local officer Sgt Jim Gannon had told him on several occasions over the years that the IRA had killed Seamus Ludlow. Sgt Gannon took exception to the implication that he had misled the family, and telephoned Kevin Ludlow some days later to discuss the matter. The conversation ended acrimoniously. In January 1997 – more than seven months later – Kevin Ludlow instructed solicitors to write to Sgt Gannon, asking for an apology. Sgt Gannon responded by letter dated 16 January 1997, again denying that he had misled Kevin Ludlow with regard to the suspects for his brother’s death.
Sgt Gannon retired in February 1997. On 26 August 1998 he was interviewed byC/Supt Ted Murphy. Concerning this issue, he stated:
"At no stage was there ever any individual or individuals identified as beingresponsible for the murder of Seamus Ludlow. There were differing points of view as to who was responsible; some people thought it was the IRA, others thought it was the British Army. These were the views of local people and of some of the investigating team. They were personal views not based on any hard evidence.
Following the murder of Seamus Ludlow I got to know his brother KevinLudlow. He often called into Dromad Garda Station and discussed the case. I treated him extremely well and often supplied him with a cup of tea. It was Kevin’s belief that the IRA had committed the murder though he had no facts to support this. All I could tell him was that the view of certain members of the public was that the murder was committed by the IRA or the British Army."
Kevin Ludlow was not the only member of the Ludlow-Sharkey family to state thatGardaí had led them to believe the IRA had killed Seamus. One of Seamus’ nieces, Briege Doyle, recalled being told by two detectives who interviewed her some days after the funeral that they believed the IRA were responsible. Another niece, Ann McDonald, stated in 1998:
"It is… a source of annoyance to us the way in which the IRA were portrayedby Gardaí as the people who murdered my uncle… this has in effect blackened the reputation of my uncle."
Paddy Ludlow, brother of Seamus, died in 1991; but his son Brendan recalled himsaying that the Gardaí had led him to believe that the IRA were responsible. Michael Donegan recalled his own father (brother-in-law of Seamus) telling him something similar:
"He met detectives in Dundalk a number of times and they told him that theIRA did it and that it was a family affair. When my father told me this I was disgusted. Because of the fact that it was alleged that the IRA were involved my father was frightened and discontinued his visits to Dundalk."40
James Sharkey, nephew of Seamus, recalled being interviewed in the weeks followingthe murder by D/Sgt Owen Corrigan and C/Supt Dan Murphy. He said that D/Sgt Corrigan adopted a very aggressive attitude, and that he seemed to be trying to get him [James] to say that the IRA had killed Seamus. A few days later, another interview took place with D/Sgt Corrigan and another unnamed officer:
"The two of them were again trying to establish a connection between Seamusand the IRA. Owen Corrigan said on numerous occasions ‘You know and we know the IRA done the murder’. In general he wanted me to agree with him. However, I didn’t believe it was the IRA so I couldn’t agree with him."41
James Sharkey said he had no further contact with Corrigan until December 1980,when he met him in the toilet of a Dundalk hotel:
"I asked him if he ever found out who murdered my uncle Seamus: he replied, ‘You know fucking well who killed him as well as I do.’ He then left thetoilet."42
D/Sgt Corrigan retired in 1992. On 26 August 1998 he made a short statement toC/Supt Ted Murphy concerning the Ludlow case, in which he said:
"In May 1976 I was in Dundalk when Seamus Ludlow was murdered atThistle Cross, Dundalk. I was actively involved in the subsequent murder investigation. On the completion of it no person was identified as being responsible for the murder. At no stage did I ever tell any member of the Ludlow family that the IRA were responsible for the murder as I had no information to suggest that such was the case."
C/Supt Murphy also interviewed two other Gardaí who had been based in DundalkGarda station in 1976. Neither of them had been actively involved in the investigation. They did not recall any discussions or meetings at which it was suggested that the suspects for the Ludlow murder had been identified. They themselves did not express the view to the Ludlow family or to anyone else that the IRA were responsible.
From all the information available to him, C/Supt Murphy concluded:"There is a clear conflict on this issue. However, it is worth noting that the suspects in this case were not identified until February 1979… any views expressed up to that time could only be of a speculative nature and not supported by facts. It is now evident that the IRA were not responsible for Mr Ludlow’s murder.
It is not the practice of the Gardaí to nominate suspects in any investigation inthe absence of supporting evidence. Perhaps the IRA were originally included in the initial network of suspects. It is clear from the statement of ex-Chief
Superintendent Courtney that the investigation team had an open mind at theoutset of investigations in regard to suspects in this case. From all the circumstances outlined, including the conflict of statements and noting that any views expressed prior to February 1979 could only be of a speculative nature I am of the view that no explanations can now be provided to the Ludlow family on this issue."43
As we have seen, the investigation file shows that there was intelligence informationreceived - however unreliable it turned out to be - which might have led Gardaí in 1976 to believe that the IRA were responsible for the murder. C/Supt Murphy’s conclusion is presumably based on the fact that such intelligence was discarded early on as being of no weight.
Statements attributed to Brendan McGahon TD:
Kevin Ludlow told C/Supt Ted Murphy that in September 1983 he heard a radioprogramme in which Brendan McGahon stated that he knew who had killed Seamus Ludlow.
On 13 March 1998, Kevin Ludlow and James Sharkey went to see McGahon at hisoffices in Dundalk. According to Kevin Ludlow, the latter became abusive in the course of their conversation.
"He stated that his knowledge of Seamus’ murder was obtained from theGardaí and an IRA man who was now dead."44
Mr McGahon was interviewed by C/Supt Murphy on 10 August 1998. He stated:
"In 1976 I was a councillor with Louth Co. Council and Dundalk U.D.C. I canremember the murder of Seamus Ludlow of Thistle Cross, Dundalk in 1976. In fact he used to cater for my garden on Saturday evenings. His murder was a shock to me as he was an inoffensive man.
At that time it was my belief, based on conversations with Gardaí and others,that the IRA were responsible, as that group were responsible for many similar-type deaths. I can confirm that I did address this murder on a radio programme when I condemned the death and probably expressed the view that the IRA had done it, based on what I have just said in my statement. I do not recall the occasion or precise details of the interview."
Regarding his conversation with Kevin Ludlow and James Sharkey in 1998, heacknowledged that there had been some heated disagreement. He said he told them that his belief in 1976 that the IRA were responsible was his true belief at the time, based on what he had been told.
He told C/Supt Murphy that his view at that time was based on conversations withlocal Gardaí and ‘others’ in 1976. He did not recall any specific Gardaí or individuals from whom he received the information. He now accepted that he was misinformed, and had no definite information as to who murdered Seamus Ludlow.
C/Supt Murphy concluded:
"Whilst this issue is a matter of some annoyance to the Ludlow family it is notnow of any particular relevance to the Gardaí. Nonetheless the following matters are worthy of mention:
- Neither Kevin Ludlow nor any other member of the Ludlow familycontacted either Mr McGahon or the Gardaí following the radio interview. This suggests that the views expressed by him did not have any particular impact on the Ludlow family, or that they believed that Mr McGahon’s views were of a purely speculative nature, not worthy of attention.
- It is surprising that Kevin Ludlow did not bring details of the interview tothe notice of the Gardaí.
- Perhaps Mr McGahon was somewhat reckless or naïve in conveying hisunsubstantiated views on the public airwaves."
It may be that the finding that McGahon’s comments did not have an impact on theLudlow family at that time goes too far. The failure to complain to Gardaí does not necessarily imply that they were not annoyed by the allegations.
39Chapter 4 was the section of C/Supt Murphy’s report dealing with when the Gardaí became aware of
the identity of the suspects and why this information was not acted upon.
40 Statement of Michael Donegan, 28 July 1998.
41 Statement of James Sharkey, 28 July 1998.
43 Report of C/Supt T. Murphy, 17 November 1998.
44 Statement of Kevin Ludlow, 28 July 1998.
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The Ludlow family supports the campaign by the Rooney and Watters families of Dundalk for an inquiry into the murderous Dundalk Bombing of 19 December 1975 which resulted in the sectarian murder of Jack Rooney and Hugh Watters.
Further information can be accessed at their campaign website.
Relatives for Justice http://www.relativesforjustice.com/
Pat Finucane Centre http://www.www.patfinucanecentre.org
British Irish Rights Watch http://www.birw.org/
Irish Council for Civil Liberties http://www.iccl.ie/
Celtic League http://www.manxman.co.im/cleague/index.html
Justice for the Forgotten at http://www.dublinmonaghanbombings.org/
The 1st. Barron Report on the May 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings can be downloaded in pdf format from: http://www.irlgov.ie/oireachtas/Committees-29th-D%E1il/jcjedwr-debates/InterimDubMon.pdf
The 2nd.Barron Report on the Dublin Bombings of 1972 and 1973, and other incidents along the Irish border, can be downloaded in pdf form from: http://www.oireachtas.ie/documents/committees29thdail/jcjedwr/Dublin_Barron_Rep031204.pdf
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