Tuesday 15 October 2019

Ludlow family call for justice

Olivia Ryan

The family of Dundalk man Seamus Ludlow, who was murdered in 1976 launched a campaign for 'justice and truth' in An Tain Theatre.

The surviving members of the Ludlow family, including nephews and nieces led a press conference on Friday last, where they called for support for a public inquiry into their uncle's death.

They also launched an information leaflet, highlighting the background to the case, which they intend to hand out to the public in Louth, and in South Armagh.

Seamus Ludlow was just 47 years old when he was killed after thumbing a lift home from a night out in a pub in Dundalk on May 2nd 1976.

He was shot a number of times and his body was dumped in a ditch near his home. No one has ever been prosecuted for his death.

But the callous murder has emerged as one of the key 'legacy' cases in the aftermath of the Troubles, given the reported involvement of members of the British Army/ UDR and Red Hand Commandos

Speaking on behalf of the family, Michael Donegan said; 'We the family of Seamus Ludlow are appealing for support for a public inquiry into the death of our brother and uncle. Seamus was a north Louth man who lived with his elderly mother Annie He was a quiet, unassuming, decent and loving family man.'

Micheal said that despite the passing of 43 years, the brutal killing still resonates deeply with the family, who have been left with 'no answers' as to why Seamus was killed, and why no one has ever been brought to justice for his murder.

'From day one we knew there was something wrong with this case, the contempt shown to the family by gardai, the attempts to impune Seamus' character, to say he was an informer, or that his family were involved, all of which were untrue.'

He added: 'It has been clear from the first day that there was a whole lot going on with the murder of Seamus Ludlow. And 43 years later, the family are still being kept in the dark.'

'Poor Seamus did not deserve this death, and afterwards the impuning of his character. We, his family have to stand up for him now.'

Nephew Jimmy Fox added 'We hope through this leaflet a lot more people will come to know the truth. We will be handing it out to the public here in Louth, and also in South Armagh.'

He said the family were also calling for a full public inquiry into the handling of the investigation into Seamus Ludlow's murder.

The family's solicitor Gavin Booth outlined the legal routes they had taken over the last few years to get 'truth and justice' for their brother and uncle.

He explained how in 1999 a decision was taken by prosecutors in the north not to bring a number of suspects to court, two of whom had admitted being in the area where Seamus Ludlow had died that night.

They had even driven maps of the rural part of north Louth where the 47 year old forestry worker had been killed.

Among the four men were two serving members of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR).

Mr. Booth said the gardai never requested an extradition to interview the men who were identified by the RUC as likely to have been involved.

He explained that they are now demanding a full public inquiry into his death after they won permission from the High Court in Belfast to challenge the decision not to prosecute members of the British Armed Forces and loyalist paramilitaries identified as suspects.

He described how during the hearing, it was claimed that files had been lost in relation to the 1999 decision not to prosecute the suspects.

The family are also seeking a meeting with the new Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris.

They have requested a meeting with the Police Ombudsman in Northern Ireland, and are seeking a meeting and a report by the Ombudsman into Seamus Ludlow's murder.

They also outlined how they felt the Irish government had 'frustrated' efforts to advance the case, with the recommendations of the Barron Commission not having been implemented.

Speaking at the launch, Jimmy Fox added: 'We need your support in demanding the establishment of a full public inquiry. This is the only way that we the family can get the truth of what happened to Seamus, and hold those responsible to account for their actions.'

Michael Donegan highlighted the large group of family members who attended the event, saying that a new generation of Seamus Ludlow's relatives were 'just as determined and passionate' as the older generation who had led the campaign for justice.'

The Argus