The family of Seamus Ludlow have given their accounts for the first time at an inquiry into the Barron report on his savage murder by a gang of pro-British killers in 1976, and the subsequent cover-up.
Relatives of the County Louth sawmill worker said yesterday that the 26-County garda police treated them very badly over 30 years and “told them only lies”. They also called for a full independent public inquiry into the killing.
Solicitor James McGuill, speaking to the parliamentary sub-committee in Dublin described the family as ordinary and law-abiding, who found themselves in a set of completely life-changing circumstances which was compounded by the 26-County authorities.
Among its findings, the Barron report said that the RUC police in the North told the Gardai in 1979 it believed four named paramilitaries, including two British soldiers, were involved in Mr Ludlow’s killing, but this information was not pursued by the Garda.
No one has ever been charged with the murder of Mr Ludlow. He was shot dead on May 2nd, 1976, as he went home from a night out.
Yesterday his brother, Kevin, said gardai treated the family very badly. He broke down as he said: “When I saw the body to identify him, I just couldn’t believe it.”
Mr Ludlow said gardai had implied that his brother was an informer for the IRA and said the IRA did it.
“Seamus definitely had nothing to do with the IRA,” he said.
“We shouldn’t have to go through all of this for 30 years. It wasn’t fair what was done to us. They were covering up the whole thing all the time. It’s a shame to think of the way the gardai acted. We were treated very badly. Nothing only lies from the gardai.”
Mr Ludlow said they had thought the gardai would tell them something, but they could not even tell them when the inquest was in 1976.
“The gardai never even said sorry for anything. Will it ever come? I don’t know,” he said. He added that he thought the family should get an apology.
Michael Donegan, nephew, told of his father, Kevin Donegan, opening the door in Co Louth to members of the UDR. He was taken away for interrogation by helicopter to Northern Ireland and brought back after an hour.
“A murder in Dundalk shouldn’t have been any of their business, and I believe the British army knew about it from day one,” he said.
Jane Winter of British Irish Rights Watch, an independent non-governmental organisation, said that he theme of collusion between the British army and loyalists ran through the case.
She said that at the time there had been a “toleration” of members of the British Army being members of paramilitary groups.
“The failure of the police investigation is not at all acceptable. It should not be for families to have to instigate a proper investigation into a murder,” she said.
British secret services and former agents may be among new sources now willing to give information on the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, according to reoprts
The Commission of Investigation into the 1974 bombings, which killed 33 people and one unborn child, requested an extension after being approached earlier this month - just weeks before it was due to wind up its inquiry. The final report is now expected to be submitted by February 28, 2006.
British agents in 1974 were engaged in secret operations aimed at underminind support for the IRA in the 26 Counties.
Margaret Urwin, secretary of victims’ group, Justice for the Forgotten, said it was necessary for the commission to fully explore any new source that came forward.
“While we don’t know who the entities are, it’s fairly obvious it must be somebody outside the jurisdiction,” she said.
The commission was set up last May to investigate why the original garda investigation was wound down, why officers did not follow-up certain leads, and how documents relating to the case went missing in Dublin.