Belfast Telegraph

State has failed us, says family of man murdered by loyalist gang

Solicitor Gavin Booth (left) with the family of Seamus Ludlow
Solicitor Gavin Booth (left) with the family of Seamus Ludlow
Seamus Ludlow

By Aoife Moore

The family of a man shot dead in 1976 say they have been failed by the Irish Government and the gardai.

Seamus Ludlow (47), a forestry worker, was killed on his way home from a local pub in Dundalk, Co Louth.

His family have long maintained Mr Ludlow was an innocent victim of a loyalist death squad comprising a Red Hand Commando and two members of the UDR, who crossed the border to commit the murder.

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

The family claim the Irish Government are frustrating efforts to win justice for Mr Ludlow, and say the gardai were passed the names of the suspects but "put them in a drawer and closed it".

The RUC told the Garda in 1979 the names of four loyalists it suspected of being involved in Mr Ludlow's killing but the information was not pursued at the time.

In 1998, four named suspects were arrested and questioned by the RUC and two allegedly made confessions about their involvement in the murder.

The family also believe Gardai were complicit in spreading false rumours that Mr Ludlow was killed for being an IRA informant.

An Irish parliamentary committee in Dublin recommended more than 10 years ago that two commissions of investigation be held into the murder and subsequent events, after an official judge-led report damned the original botched Garda probe.

Neither of the recommendations have been implemented by the Irish Government.

Gavin Booth, a solicitor for the family, said the case is strong that there have been failings on behalf of the state on both sides of the border.

"There is a political failure here to deal with the past in the north, and this spreads into the south. Unfortunately families have been left without proper disclosure of details," he said.

Irish justice minister Charlie Flanagan said: "The murder of Seamus Ludlow was a brutal and despicable act of random violence perpetrated against an innocent man.

"It is a matter of sincere regret that nobody has been held accountable for his murder. It is acknowledged that there were serious failings in the investigation at the time.

"The family are currently engaged in litigation against the State regarding the establishment of a Commission of Investigation and it would therefore be inappropriate for me to comment further at this time."

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