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The BIRW Report - Witness Account - Sunday World report May 1976 -- Ludlow Family Account - Profile - Barron Inquiry - Terms of Reference - A Fresh Inquest - Meeting the Police Ombudsman - Photographs - Letter to  RUC - Press Coverage - Barron Report is Published - Statement from Justice for the Forgotten

Ludlow Family Response to Barron Report - Download the Barron Report from the Oireachtas website (pdf file) - Statement from Justice for the Forgotten - Joint Oireachtas Committee Request for Submissions - Joint statement from Justice for the Forgotten, Relatives for Justice and the Pat Finucane Centre - Download Transcript of Ludlow family meeting with Oireachtas Sub-Committee (Word file) - At the Oireachtas Sub-Committee Hearing: 24 January 2006 - Publication of the Oireachtas Report - Download the Final Oireachtas Sub-Committee Report on the murder of Seamus Ludlow from the Oireachtas website (pdf file) Ludlow family press release in response to the Oireachtas Report

Download the Barron Report (pdf file) on the Dundalk bombing - Download the International Report on Collusion - Download the Oireachtas Committee Final Report on the Dundalk bombing and other collusion attacks

Who was Seamus Ludlow?
Where can I find more information about Seamus Ludlow?
Who killed Seamus Ludlow, and why ?
Why was Seamus Ludlow's murder covered up?
Who leads the Ludlow family's campaign for a public inquiry?
Who supports the Ludlow family?
          What is the position now?

Who was Seamus Ludlow?

Photograph: Memorial to Seamus Ludlow at the place where the crime was committed.Seamus Ludlow, was a 47-year-old Catholic bachelor who lived at Thistlecross, Mountpleasant, Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland, just a short distance south of the  border and the Six Counties. Seamus, who was born 4 December 1929, lived in his lifelong home with his elderly mother and his married sister and her family. Seamus worked with his brother-in-law Tommy Fox (now deceased) as a forestry worker in the vicinity of his home. 

Seamus Ludlow was murdered by Loyalists from the Six Counties in May 1976. His killers have never been brought to justice, though they were identified by the RUC and to the Garda within months of this murder, and his family want to know why this is so.

Seamus met his death on the night of 1st. and 2nd. May 1976. After spending the evening in various Dundalk public houses, Seamus left the Lisdoo Arms, on the Ni road just north of Dundalk, around 11.30 pm. He was last seen standing outside Smith's Garage nearby, thumbing a lift for the three mile distance to his home, as he had done on many occasions before. The memorial, shown at the top of this page, marks the spot where Seamus Ludlow's body was found on Sunday 2nd. May 1976.

See also: 

The Sunday World (Southern edition), 9 May 1976: Death in a lovers' lane...Who killed Santa Claus Gardai call us in to help

The Sunday World (Southern edition), 9 May 1976 (Continued): The spot where Santa Claus died

The Irish Times, 5 November 2005: A quiet man known for his charity

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Where can I find more information about Seamus Ludlow?

The Ludlow family has produced two other web sites for this campaign for justice, including The Seamus Ludlow Truth and Justice Campaign. This first web site has detailed accounts of Seamus Ludlow's family background, the last day of his life, and the Ludlow family's unsavoury treatment by the Gardai in the aftermath of the murder. There are press reports of Seamus Ludlow's murder from the Sunday Press and the Sunday World and a Special Report from the local Argus newspaper in 1985. There are accounts of recent revelations in the press about the arrest of four Loyalist suspects from County Down in February 1998 and the Irish Victims Commission's report of 1999. There is also a copy of the text of an independent report produced by the respected human rights body British Irish RIGHTS WATCH (BIRW), London.

Our other website: The Murder of Seamus Ludlow in County Louth, May 1976. Towards a public inquiry? also contains a wealth of information about this campaign, particulary of more recent developments.

Further information about recent developments can be found on the web site of the Pat Finucane Centre.

Many of the 1976 press reports of this foul murder and the Ludlow family's long struggle for justice, particularly from 1998, can be found by visiting our Press Coverage page.

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Who killed Seamus Ludlow, and why. ?

The murder scene: The body of the brutally murdered Seamus Ludlow lies on top of the ditch where the UDR and Red Hand Commando death squad dumped him. on 2 May 1976The first part of this question is easier to answer than the second part. Despite false claims spread by the Gardai in southern Ireland and by the British Army in the Six Counties, to the effect that Seamus Ludlow was an informer who had been murdered by the IRA, forces of a different hue were responsible. The Ludlow family emphatically maintain that Seamus Ludlow was no informer. He was not killed by the IRA.

Recent revelations of an RUC and Gardai cover-up dating from the 1970s, now largely confirmed with the publication of the Barron Report,  show how in fact it was known all along that Seamus Ludlow was the victim of a Loyalist/British Army murder gang. It is now known that the RUC in Belfast handed a file on the killing, naming at least three of the suspected killers, to the Gardai in 1979. 

This RUC file contained the names of at least three of the four suspects who were arrested by the RUC nearly 20 years later, in February 1998. It has also emerged, from statements made by one of the suspects, that he was questioned about the murder by the RUC Special Branch in 1987, and that he was told to say no more about Seamus Ludlow because it was "political".

Why Seamus Ludlow was killed remained a mystery for many years. There were many theories, though the garda seemed interested only in one!

Perhaps we should be asking what the four Loyalist suspects, including two members of the British Army's Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR), from far off Comber and Newtownards in north Down, were doing in Dundalk on the night in question. 

Were they engaged in a drinking spree as it has been suggested, or were they on a mission of murder. Seamus Ludlow was totally unknown to them. Could it be that he was just another Catholic or a victim of mistaken identity, killed instead of another intended victim, who may have been a republican. There have been persistent rumours that Seamus bore a strong resemblance to one man in particular who may have been on a death list. 

These questions are now largely answered with the recent revelations from the Barron Report. The Barron Report was published in Dublin on 3 November 2005, more than thirteen months after it had been handed to the government. The published Barron Report contains evidence of false claims that Seamus Ludlow was murdered by the IRA because he was an informer. It also reveals how gardai falsely assured Brendan McGahan, a former Louth TD, that Seamus Ludlow was killed by the IRA, and that he believed these claims.

The Barron Report, in naming the four loyalist suspects, refutes all these vile lies about Seamus Ludlow. Seamus Ludlow stands vindicated before the world as an innocent victim of cruel sectarian killers who were sent to Dundalk to kill another man! Seamus Ludlow, it is now revealed,  was not a victim of mistaken identity! He was unfortunate to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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Why was Seamus Ludlow's murder covered up?

This is the question that has yet to be answered, hopefully at a public inquiry. The Ludlow family rightfully feel that those (whoever they are) who participated in this shameful neglect of duty, and perverted justice, must be forced to answer for their abuse and their collusion with loyalist death squads. Gardai officers were paid and sworn to uphold the law, solve or prevent crime, and to protect members of the public from crime. 

(The RUC also have serious questions to answer regarding their role in protecting the killers of Seamus Ludlow. Recently their role in colluding with loyalist killers has been exposed to public scrutiny by the Barron/Oireachtas Reports on the Dundalk bombing, an International Report on Collusion, and by the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman's report on the activities of one death squad in North Belfast.)

Certainly in the case of Seamus Ludlow's murder, and in every other case where Loyalists committed murder in the Irish state - in Dundalk, Castleblaney, Dublin, Monaghan, Buncrana and Sallins - with perhaps fifty innocent victims - the Gardai have manifestly failed in that duty on every occasion!

In the case of Seamus Ludlow it is clear that there was a cover-up. Members of the Gardai have admitted this to members of the Ludlow family. A secret file containing the names of at least three suspects had been gathering dust for some twenty years, even while Gardai in Dundalk were constantly assuring members of the Ludlow family that there was no other file, and there were no other suspects.

It has recently been reported that this RUC file had been passed to several high-ranking Gardai officers - including an Assistant Commissioner - yet no action was taken. Several officers, and others in retirement and still living, should have interesting answers to give when, or if, they are forced to testify.

It has been suggested that the cover-up was inspired by a need to protect one of the Loyalist killers who may have been an agent working within the death squad. If true, this agent, who may have been the actual killer, may well have reported back to his RUC Special Branch, British Army or MI5 handlers immediately. He may have given them a detailed report about the killing of Seam Ludlow.

The Gardai's handling of Seamus Ludlow's inquest on 19th August 1976 also leads to suspicions of a cover-up. No members of the Ludlow family were present, simply because no one within the family was given sufficient advance notice. Clearly, Ludlow family members were not wanted there. The inquest reports in the local press and the state pathologist's report say nothing about the calibre of weapon used to kill Seamus Ludlow. This neglect fuels suspicions that a British Army/UDR weapon was used. Such a weapon would have identified the killers immediately. The Ludlow family made a case to the government and succeeded in getting a fresh inquest opened in this case. This two-day inquest commenced on 5 September 2005 in Dundalk, and for the first time the gardai finally admmitted in public that they had the names of the prime suspects, four loyalists, since 1979!.

The Ludlow family demands a public inquiry to uncover the answers to all of the important questions raised about the official cover-up of the murder of Seamus Ludlow. These questions have been raised in previous communications between the family and its legal representative and the authorities in Dublin and Belfast. The absolute necessity for the holding of a public inquiry has been argued vigorously.

 All that was offered was a private inquiry that fell far short of the Ludlow family's demands. The Government refused to budge. Ministers were determined to push ahead with a private inquiry under Mr Justice Hamilton and, upon his death, Mr Justice Barron, regardless of the Ludlow family's objections. This delaying tactics has not produced the answers the Ludlow family demand. Indeed, the Barron Report literally cries out for a properly resourced public inquiry, with powers to subpoena witnesses and documents, to get the answers Justice Barron was unable to uncover.

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Who leads the Ludlow family's campaign for a public inquiry.

A photograph of Kevin Ludlow.The Ludlow family's search for truth and justice is led by Kevin Ludlow, the only surviving brother of Seamus Ludlow. Kevin Ludlow has maintained close contacts with the Gardai ever since his brother was murdered in May 1976. On several occasions he was deliberately misled. He was even told that a member of his own family was involved in his late brother's murder! He was even given the name of a particular relative. With his nephew Jimmy Sharkey, he has worked tirelessly to uncover the full truth behind his brother's murder and the reasons for the Gardai's failure to solve  the crime. 

The Ludlow family has established an Appeal Fund (see below) to help with securing the necessary funds for a campaign which will continue to drain available resources for some time to come. Any donations, to the Appeal's account at the Bank of Ireland, Dundalk, of whatever size, will be deeply appreciated.

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Who supports the Ludlow family?

The Ludlow family continues to enjoy the active support of respected human rights groups like British Irish Rights Watch (BIRW), London, the Pat Finucane Centre (PFC), Relatives for Justice, and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties. BIRW has produced an independent report on Seamus Ludlow's death and its esteemed Director Jane Winter has twice flown to Ireland to accompany members of the Ludlow family on important occasions - the most recent being a meeting with the Irish  Minister for Justice. 

The Pat Finucane Centre, Derry, and Relatives for Justice, Belfast, have been particularly supportive, having invited the family to their recent conferences for relatives of victims of state violence. PFC has featured the Seamus Ludlow case on its own website, including much of the recent output of journalist Ed Moloney for the Sunday Tribune newspaper. The Pat Finucane Centre published this site on its website and on its email newsletter. Through PFC's efforts, this site has gained a considerable hit rate in a very short time. Relatives for Justice kindly invited the Ludlow family to send a representative to join their deputation for a meeting with Taoiseach Mr. Bertie Ahern in Dublin.

Both Newry and Mourne District Council and Louth County Council have supported the Ludlow family's demand for a public inquiry into the death of Seamus Ludlow.

The Ludlow family is also supported by a number of Irish TDs and senators and British MPs.

Since the launch of this second Ludlow family website, it has been obvious that the Ludlow family's campaign for truth and justice has many good friends at home and abroad. This is obvious from a visit to the site's Guest Book, where several messages have been posted by good friends in the United States and Britain.

Members of the Irish Organisations United in Pennsylvania and Massachussetts are now actively campaigning on the Ludlow family's behalf. The Ludlow family's campaign is also supported by members of Friends of Irish Freedom in the United States. The campaign has also secured from members of the Connolly Association.

Most of all, the Ludlow family is pleased to report that their concerns and their demands for truth and justice are widely supported in their local community on both sides of the border. 

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What is the position now?

The Ludlow family has been cooperating with a private inquiry headed by its sole member Mr Justice Henry Barron. Mr Justice Barron was appointed by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and given terms of reference to investigate several cases involving Loyalist attacks in the Republic and along the border. He has also compiled reports on the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of May 1974 and the Dublin bombings of 1972 and 1973, as well as the Dundalk bombing of December 1975. The Barron Report into the murder of Seamus Ludlow was finally published on 3 November 2005..

Despite the Ludlow family's serious doubts as to the merit of this private inquiry process, which falls far short of our demand for a public inquiry, it was decided to cooperate with Mr Justice Barron, since his private inquiry would go ahead anyway and regardless of the Ludlow family's stated objections. The Ludlow family decided to assist Justice Barron in every way possible, while still reserving the right to call for a public inquiry. It was important also that the Ludlow family should not later stand accused for any failings in Mr Justice Barron's final report due to a failure to cooperate.

After much delay, Mr Justice Barron completed his private inquiry and submitted his report to Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and the Irish Government in October 2004. The published Barron report went before a Joint Oireachtas Committee of elected TDs and Senators, meeting in open session, in January 2006. The report was examined and a further report with recommendations was produced by the Joint Oireachtas Committee.

The Oireachtas Report called for a further Garda investigation, which is still ongoing. The Committee also called for a further private inquiry into the murder of Seamus Ludlow. The new private inquiry has yet to commence!

A fresh inquest into the death of Seamus Ludlow  opened at Dundalk Courthouse on 5 September 2005. This inquest was first ordered by the Irish attorney general Rory Brady in July 2002. The original inquest of 19 August 1976 was heavily criticised by the Ludlow family because it went ahead in the absence of any members of the family. It was also criticised because there was no examination of ballistic or forensic reports. The Ludlow family felt that they were deliberately excluded by the Gardai to ensure that the inquest was rushed through and to help conceal important matters that should have come to light.

The fresh inquest was repeatedly delayed until the autumn of 2005 by Garda reluctance to hand over certain files requested by the coroner. This includes the internal Murphy file from 1998. This file was compiled by the now retired Chief Superintendent Ted Murphy after his investigation of the original murder investigation of 1976. The Ludlow family have been refused access to this important file that may help reveal the truth behind the cover-up of the murder of Seamus Ludlow. 


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 Page last updated on 26 January 2007

Copyright 2007 the Ludlow family. All rights reserved.
Revised: January 26, 2007