Tuesday 16 October 2018

Family of Seamus Ludlow vow to continue their fight after ruling against inquiry

The family of Seamus Ludlow, the murdered north Louth forestry worker have said they are 'disappointed but not surprised' by the ruling against their application to have the State set up two commissions of inquiry into the Garda investigation of the 'callous sectarian' murder more than 40 years ago.

The proceedings against the Minister for Justice and the State were aimed at having the State establish two commissions of inquiry, as recommended by a 2006 Oireachtas Joint Committee based on a report of retired High Court judge Henry Barron into the murder.

Mr. Ludlow's nephew Jimmy Sharkey was among twelve members of the family who attended the High Court on Friday last for the ruling from Ms Justice Mary Faherty.

Speaking to the Argus he said 'From the family's perspective it was 'disappointing but not surprising.'

Justice Faherty referred to the 'human tragedy' caused to the family by the 1976 murder and the 'untold hurt and injustice' caused by the 'well-documented' and acknowledged failure of gardaí to follow up on information provided to them by the RUC after the murder.

But crucially, she said there is 'no right' to an inquiry and the courts cannot force the executive to set up any kind of inquiry.

She expressed her sympathy for the family whom she said had 'very understandable' concerns over the failings of the Garda investigation.

Mr Ludlow (47) from Mountpleasant, was shot in 1976 after leaving a bar in Dundalk and his body was found near his home.

The State says he was the victim of a 'callous sectarian murder' and has apologised to the family over the conduct of the Garda investigation.

Jimmy Sharkey said the family continue to maintain that the investigation into his uncle's murder was 'suppressed.'

'From the family's perspective, we feel there has been a catalogue of cover-ups and lies about this case and other similar cases.'

He expressed the family's frustration around the findings of the Oireachtas Committee which had said it could not resolve why gardaí did not follow up the RUC information, but believed it was because of a direction by a former senior garda. The Committee had recommended that commissions of inquiry could address such issues.

This prompted the family to pursue the setting up of Commissions of Inquiry, which Ms. Justice Faherty ruled against.

In a lengthy ruling on Friday last, she said that the family are resigned to the prospect that those responsible for Mr Ludlow's murder will not be prosecuted and what they want are answers for the State's failures to follow up concrete information that might have led to prosecutions.

But she also said the State had maintained the murder investigation 'remains open and commissions of inquiry could not progress that.'

It said an independent commission of inquiry into the murder culminated in the Barron report of 2006 which named four persons as the suspected perpetrators,.

The family say they are now considering their options, and did not rule out launching an appeal.

The Argus