Irish Republican News · October 29, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Ludlow inquiry to get go-ahead
Ludlow inquiry to get go-ahead

The Dublin government will recommend for a public inquiry into the 1976 killing of a County Louth man murdered by British soldiers in collusion with loyalist paramilitaries.

The Independent Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice Henry Barron, which has previously reported on the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings, submitted its report on the killing last Wednesday.

Seamus Ludlow was abducted by a group of men on May 1st, 1976, shortly before midnight outside Dundalk as he thumbed a lift home from the pub. He was murdered shortly afterwards.

He is believed to have been killed a gang of four loyalists, including two members of the British Army's locally recruited Ulster Defence Regiment.

He was apparently targeted at random by the gang who saw him hitching a lift from the outskirts of Dundalk to his home near the main road to the Border.

He was shot three times in the back of the head and his body dumped a short distance from his home. No one ever claimed responsibility.

The Garda police is accused of feulling false allegations that the IRA was involved, and helping to suppress information that could identify the killers.

In a statement, the Dublin government said: "It is expected that the report will be considered by the Government and the Oireachtas in a process similar to that which was put in place for consideration of the Independent Commission's Report into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974."

The Taoiseach expects to receive Mr Justice Barron's fourth and final report before the end of the year.

CORONER GETS EVIDENCE

An inquest was held in Dundalk in August 1976, but no ballistic or forensic evidence was given.

The coroner, who is due to reopen the inquest into the murder, had expressed concern as the unwillingness of the Garda to cooperate fully.

He had sought an internal Garda report into the original investigation as part of his preparation work for the inquest.

This week it was revealed that he had finally received the long-awaited and substantial document.

Mr Ludlow's nephew, Michael Donegan, said relatives hoped that they would be  able to see the report in its entirety, adding: "If there were any string attached for the gardai to give it to the coroner, then that is not acceptable," Mr Donegan said.

"We want everything out in the open. If the report identifies people who did wrong or who failed to carry out their duty to bring Uncle Seamus;' killers to justice then we would want a criminal investigation.

"They were there to uphold the law and protect the innocent, but my uncle wasn't protected."

Mr Donegan welcomed the fact that the coroner had been given the document as a "big step forward".

He also paid tribute to a London-based human rights activist for her efforts to ensure that Mr Maguire received the Murphy Report.

Jane Winter, director of British Irish Rights Watch (BIRW), wrote to the Attorney General and the Garda Commissioner last week seeking their intervention in the matter.

In her letter, BIRW director Jane Winter said: "It has been an open secret for some time now that Seamus Ludlow, a wholly innocent and inoffensive man, was murdered by loyalists during a border incursion by Northern Ireland soldiers who were also paramilitaries - a matter which we would have thought would have been of utmost concern to the Irish government."

Ms Winter said the Ludlow family had been waiting an "unconscionable" 28 years for justice".

© 2004 Irish Republican News