Basis seen for public inquiry into Ludlow killing
Basis seen for public inquiry into Ludlow killing

Relatives of murder victim Seamus Ludlow have said they believe an investigation by Justice Henry Barron will form the basis for a public inquiry.

The retired Supreme Court judge travelled to Dundalk yesterday to meet relatives of the forestry worker, who was gunned down by a unionist paramilitary gang in 1976.

Elements of the British Crown forces are alleged to have taken part in the murder.

Mr Ludlow's nephew Jimmy Sharkey said the family had taken the judge to visit a monument to the murder victim, and shown him the site where the body was recovered in a rural laneway.

He described Justice Barron's two-hour meeting with the family as "productive", adding that relatives had learned that the judge's findings would be published later this year.

He said the judge had told the family that he had received some information from the PSNI police in the North, but was waiting for further details. There were also files that he had not yet received south of the border.

Mr Sharkey said he believed that judge would find that four loyalist suspects in the abduction and murder had travelled to County Louth on that night to target a "named person" who lived locally, but was not in the area at the time.

He added that he was "reasonably satisfied" by the effort the judge was making to uncover the facts behind the murder and subsequent Garda and RUC investigations.

"We wanted to leave Justice Barron in no doubt about what the family wanted from him. It cannot be a whitewash or a fudge. I personally believe that his report could form the basis for a public inquiry," Mr Sharkey said.


Meanwhile, the investigation by Justice Barron into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974 was no substitute for a sworn public inquiry, a leading human rights group has said.

British-Irish Rights Watch, which has monitored hthe matter since 1992, said the question of whether the Dublin gvernment would call a public inquiry was a test of its independence.

The group's director, Ms Jane Winter, told a parliamentary committee the British government would find it more difficult to refuse co-operation with a public inquiry than with a "behind-closed-doors" investigation.

Ms Winter said Mr Justice Barron had "no way" of saying that evidence did not exist to support charges of collusion between the bombers and the Northern Ireland security services, because he had not seen the original intelligence files.

"Much as I admire the work that Justice Barron has done, he did not have enough information to make those conclusions."

In separate testimony, Dr Colin Warbrick, a professor of law at Durham University, confirmed any failure to call a public inquiry could leave the Dublin government open to a challenge in the Irish courts under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Prof Warbrick said that neither the Barron inquiry nor the original Garda investigation satisfied the standards for an effective inquiry set out by the European Court of Human Rights.

Earlier, a man who believes he saw one of the bombers park the Parnell Street car-bomb said he was never shown any photographs of those suspected.

Mr Seamus Fitzpatrick said he was never treated by gardai as someone who might have had information that could have made a special contribution to the investigation into the attacks.

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