Welcome to the Ludlow family's website for the Seamus Ludlow Truth and Justice Campaign.
Pictured here is the late Seamus Ludlow (47), Thistlecross, Mountpleasant, Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland, who was abducted and murdered near Dundalk on the night of 1st. and 2nd. May 1976 by members of the British Army's UDR and the outlawed Red Hand Commando murder gang from north Down. The killers were nefer brought to justice. The Ludlow family demands public inquiries to establish the full truth behind the murder and the subsequent cover-up and smear campaign.
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Chronology - Page 2.
17 February 1998 - Paul Hosking and three other loyalists - Red Hand Commandos, two of whom were in UDR at the time of the killing of Seamus Ludlow, were arrested by the RUC and questioned at Castlereagh Holding Centre. All four were released without charge, and a file was to be prepared for the DPP. Both the RUC and the Gardai assured the family that these were indeed the killers of Seamus Ludlow.
8 March 1998 - Ed Moloney published a major article in the Sunday Tribune newspaper, featuring an interview with Paul Hosking, who repeated in public the story which he told the RUC twice, in 1987 and 1998. He described in gruesome detail the abduction and murder of Seamus Ludlow by a Loyalist gang from north Down.
15 March 1998 - Ed Moloney followed up with a second article in the Sunday Tribune in which the Ludlow family put on record their treatment at the hands of the Gardai and the British Army, and the lies that they were told when in fact the authorities knew all along the true identity of Seamus Ludlow's loyalist killers. The family made public demands for public inquiries, north and south, to get to the bottom of the cover-ups and to expose those who for 22 years conspired against justice to protect Seamus Ludlow's killers. The family soon after intensified its campaign for truth and justice, enlisting the support of public representatives on both sides of the border and putting pressure on government ministers in Belfast and Dublin. The Ludlow family was soon supported by British Irish RIGHTS WATCH (BIRW), the Pat Finucane Centre, and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties. In February 1999 BIRW produced an independent report on the murder of Seamus Ludlow. This report can be viewed on the website of the Pat Finucane Centre, which can be accessed from the Ludlow family's Links page.
In this editorial in the same edition of the Sunday Tribune (15 March), the editor called for an investigation:
Time For Ludlow Investigation.
Many strange things happened in the administration of justice during the '70s, particularly within the operations of the garda Siochana. It was a difficult time, with many fearing that the institutions of the State were under real threat from the re-emergence of the IRA, and with many atrocities being carried out in Northern Ireland and, occasionally, in the south. This led to abuses of power by small sections of the gardai, particularly the operation of the so-called "heavy gang". Cooperation between the security forces on both sides of the border was closer than many credited and efforts were made to gather intelligence from every possible source. One of the best ways of doing this was to use informers, but, it appears, informers may have been caught up in actions which were illegal but which they felt were necessary to establish their bona fides and, in the long run, save other lives.
But it is hardly acceptable that, in the so-called name of the greater good, innocent people died and that then their killers were allowed to escape for reasons which had nothing to do with the proper administration of justice. This, it is now suspected, is what happened in the case of Seamus Ludlow, the Louth man murdered by loyalist terrorists (who also benefited from protection from the British authorities) in 1976. Even worse, it is claimed that the Irish authorities colluded in a cover-up and, not satisfied with that, implied erroneously that Ludlow was an informer and that he was shot by the IRA for this reason. For the sake of Seamus Ludlow's family, and to maintain confidence that one of the most important arms of the State has acted honourably and correctly, a full investigation is required into the circumstances not just of his murder but also the investigation which followed it.
30 March 1998 - In a letter to the County Secretary, Councillor Tommy Reilly, Louth County Council, wrote:
"I propose the motion "That Louth County Council Call on the Government to initiate (1) Extradition Proceedings for the Named Killers of Seamus Ludlow R.I.P. on the Night of 1/2 May 1976.
"(2) A Public enquiry to Assure the General Public that the Gardai were Position to Act upon the information they Received in 1976 and why this information was covered up for 20 years."
16 April 1998 - In a letter to the Ludlow family's solicitor, R. White, Assistant Chief Constable Crime, RUC, Knocknagoney House, Belfast, wrote: "I can confirm that a number of people were recently arrested by the RUC and interviewed in connection with Mr. Ludlow's murder. All were released without charge. However, there are a number of enquiries still to be carried out, upon completion of which, a file will be submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions, for direction.
"The officer in charge of the investigation is D/Superintendent J Molloy of C1 Headquarters Serious Crime Squad, Knocknagoney."
19 May 1998 - In a letter to the Ludlow family solicitor, Garda Superintendent M.P. Staunton, Dundalk, also confirmed that a number of people were arrested recently by the RUC. He continued: "They were interviewed by R.U.C. officers assisted by officers from the Garda National Bureau of Crime Investigation, Harcourt Square, Dublin. All persons were released without charge.
"An investigation file is being prepared for submission, for directions, to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Northern Ireland."
10 July 1998 - A letter to the RUC Chief Constable on this date has yet to be answered. An acknowledgement dated 17 July advised that the matter "is receiving attention and a reply will be issued as soon as possible."
13 August 1998 - Jane Winter, Director, British Irish Rights Watch, London (BIRW), having just been approached by the Ludlow family, who requested support for their call for public inquiries, wrote off immediately to the heads of the RUC and Gardai investigation teams; Alasdair Frazer, the Northern Ireland DPP; Mr. John O'Donoghue TD, the Irish Minister For Justice; and to Dr. Mo Mowlam MP, the Northern Ireland Secretary of State. She was requesting disclosure of documents.
Jane Winter thanked the Ludlow family "for bringing this very sad and shocking case to our attention. Please accept and convey to the rest of your family my condolences on your sad loss and for the terrible burden you have been carrying for all these years."
Writing to Mr. O'Donoghue, the Irish Minister for Justice, Jane Winter wrote: "You will appreciate that this case raises very serious questions. The family are determined to uncover the whole truth about what happened to their relative, and they have our backing in that endeavour. They are entitled to nothing less. We hope that you will exercise your own wisdom and judgement in opening the books on this case at an early stage, so that proper closure can be put on it speedily, rather than the family having to spend years trying to establish the truth. . .".
2 September 1998 - Mr. John Bruton, TD, leader of Fine Gael, in Leinster House, Dublin, wrote the following brief, and rather blunt, letter, devoid of any expression of sympathy to the Ludlow family regarding their sad loss. The letter was sent to a member of the Ludlow family in County Louth:
"Thank you for your recent letter which I have read carefully.
"In view of your statement that the Garda investigation into this case is still continuing, I do not believe it would be appropriate for me to comment on this matter."
Mr. Bruton had nothing more to say about the sectarian murder of a member of his own party. Nothing new in this really, for Mr. Bruton's party was in government at the time of Seamus Ludlow's murder, and no members of the government could find the time to be present at the funeral.
11 September 1998 - In a letter to Jane Winter of British Irish Rights Watch (BIRW), London, D/Superintendent E.J. Molloy, RUC, confirmed that four persons were arrested and interviewed between 17 and 20 February 1998 "concerning their alleged involvement in the murder of Seamus Ludlow. All four persons were released after interview, without charge.
"A file is presently being prepared and will then be submitted to the DPP for his consideration and direction. It is anticipated that the file will be submitted prior to the end of September 1998. This file, as with all investigation files submitted to the DPP, remains confidential. An inquest has already been held in the Republic of Ireland in 1976 regarding the death of Seamus Ludlow and certain papers were made available to the Coroner at that stage by the investigating Officer in the Republic of Ireland."
The RUC was confirming its intention of withholding files from the Ludlow family's campaign. This lack of openness merely encouraged further suspicions of a cover-up continuing within the RUC.
17 September 1998 - In a letter to Jane Winter, BIRW, Adam Ingram JP MP, Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office, replying on behalf of Mo Mowlam MP, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, wrote: "It is a fundamental element of our criminal justice system that the investigatory and prosecuting authorities be entirely independent in their decision-taking on individual cases. This means, amongst other things, that disclosure of case files as you request, is not within the gift of a Minister of the Crown. Nonetheless, I have made enquiries about the progress of this case in general terms and I have been advised that in May of this year, the Irish Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform in answer to a Parliamentary Question indicated that he had sought a report on the matter from the Garda Commissioner arising from media coverage at the time concerning the original investigation in 1976. The Minister indicated that the Commissioner had reported to him on the case outlining the actions taken by Gardai since dissatisfaction with aspects of the case was first expressed by Mr. Ludlow's family during the course of 1996.
"Investigations concerning the murder of Mr. Ludlow are still being made by the RUC. As the crime was committed in the Republic of Ireland, this is outside the jurisdiction of the RUC. However evidential material is now being compiled so that the facts as known can be submitted to the relevant authorities for their consideration and direction. The outcome of this consideration could impact on any further course of action taken by the Gardai."
Here was a British minister confirming the RUC's intention that the necessary files will not be released to the Ludlow family.
22 September 1998 - In a letter to Jane Winter, BIRW, D/Chief Superintendent Ted Murphy, Garda National Drugs Unit, "C" Branch, Dublin Castle, Dublin 2, on direction from the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, replied further to her correspondence concerning the murder of Seamus Ludlow: "I am to inform you that arising from the numerous allegations concerning the original investigation the Minister sought a report in this matter from the Garda authorities. The Garda authorities have informed the Minister that the RUC investigation into this matter is being finalised. It is expected that a file on the matter will be submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland for consideration by him.
"The Garda investigation file, in this matter, remains open. The outcome of the consideration by the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland will determine future action by the Garda authorities in this investigation."
6 October 1998 - In a letter to the Ludlow family, Michael Farrell and Siobhán Ní Chlúachán, Co-Chairpersons, Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), Dublin, responded to the family's request for their support: "We note what you have said about the new Garda investigation into the case and your concern that however thorough and well-conducted it is, it may eventually reach a point where it can go no further. For that reason an independent inquiry headed by a judge or an independent lawyer with the powers of a High Court judge would seem to be a more satisfactory solution.
"Such an inquiry would need to have power to compel the production of documents and to interview witnesses. It is unlikely that the authorities would concede a full public inquiry but what is probably most important is that an inquiry be independent and that the relatives have adequate legal representation and that their representatives have access to all the materials that the chairperson of the inquiry has. . .".
23 October 1998 - The RUC's investigation file on the murder of Seamus Ludlow was sent to the Northern Ireland Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for his direction as to possible charges. This fact was confirmed in a letter dated 26 October from W.R. Junkin, Senior Assistant Director, to Jane Winter, of BIRW.
November 1998 - ICCL News commented: "ICCL has been contacted by the family of Louth man Seamus Ludlow who was found murdered near the Dundalk-Newry road in May 1976. Mr. Ludlow had no connection with any paramilitary group but Gardai appear to have treated the case as an IRA murder of an informer, causing a lot of grief and pain to his family.
"To make things worse, the family were not contacted in time about the inquest and were unable to be present or to have questions asked for them.
"Recent press revelations have indicated that Mr. Ludlow was a random and completely innocent victim of members of a loyalist paramilitary group from Northern Ireland. It also appears that Gardai knew about this shortly after the murder but did not inform the dead man's family or lift the cloud of suspicion in the local area. Instead they seem to have closed their file on the case.
"There are suspicions that the whole episode was covered up because one member of the murder gang may have been an informer for the RUC in the North.
"Prompted by the press revelations the Gardai have recently begun an internal inquiry into the case and the findings seem to support the family's claims, but the family want an independent inquiry set up, with the power to get at the truth behind the cover-up.
"ICCL supports the call for an independent inquiry into the murder of Seamus Ludlow and its subsequent handling by the Gardai. The Ludlow family are entitled to know the truth about this murder and its apparent cover-up and it is no good having the police investigating the police. The inquiry should be completely independent and headed by a judge or a senior lawyer. Maybe that would set a precedent for other inquiries into Garda conduct instead of the ineffectual Garda Complaints Board."
18 December 1998 - In a letter to the Ludlow family, the Private Secretary to the Taoiseach wrote: "The Taoiseach recognises the distress and suffering of the relatives and friends of Mr. Ludlow and he understands that Mr. Wilson (the Victims Commissioner) will address the issues arising in his Report. The Government will, of course, consider all of Mr. Wilson's recommendations very carefully when it receives his Report.
"The Taoiseach acknowledges that many victims of violence in this jurisdiction, those who suffered themselves and relatives of victims, have felt isolated and ignored. The Government will, in the light of Mr. Wilson's report, consider what further steps should be taken to address particular needs."
18 January 1999 - In a letter to Ronnie Flanagan, Chief Constable of the RUC, the Ludlow family requested a personal meeting with him. No meeting has ever been granted, nor has Mr. Flanagan sent a reply. Similar requests were made to the Secretary of State Mo Mowlam, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and to the Garda Commissioner in Dublin.
30 January 1999 - Members of the Ludlow family - Kevin Ludlow (pictured below), Michael Donegan and Brendan Larkin - attended the State Violence State the Truth Conference, at Pilot's Row, Derry. The conference was part of the programme for the Bloody Sunday 27th Anniversary Weekend.
It was organised by the Bloody Sunday Weekend Organising Committee, with the support of the Bloody Sunday Trust, Relatives for Justice and the Pat Finucane Centre. The conference focused on the lack of acknowledgement that the victims of state violence were receiving "in the current discussions concerning "victims/survivors"."
An integral part of the day's proceedings was a photographic exhibition featuring photographs and information about the deaths of many victims of state violence, including Seamus Ludlow.
The Ludlow family put on display the poster announcing their public meeting at Dundalk's Town hall on 18 February and Michael Donegan outlined the full circumstances of Seamus Ludlow's murder in 1976, the 22-year cover-up and smear campaign, and the most recent developments in the family's campaign for truth and justice. Speakers included Don Mullan, author and broadcaster; Paul O'Connor of the Pat Finucane Centre; and Monsignor Raymond Murray, Relatives for Justice.
1 February 1999 - British Labour Party M.P. Mr. Kevin McNamara tabled the following question in the House of Commons, Westminster: "To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made in the RUC investigation into the murder of Seamus Ludlow in 1976; how many people have been questioned in the past 12 months; how many people have been charged; what representations she has received from the Irish Government; and what assessment the DPP has made of the feasibility of a trial within the Northern Ireland jurisdiction".
Secretary of State Mo Mowlam's deputy Mr. Ingram (in a holding answer dated 19 January) responded: "Four persons were arrested and interviewed in February 1998; they were released without charge. A police investigation file in respect of the murder was submitted by the Chief Constable to the Director of Public Prosecutions in October 1998 remains under consideration. The Irish authorities are aware of the position."
18 February 1999 - The Ludlow family held a press conference (pictured here) at Buswells Hotel, Dublin, attended by several TDs and given coverage by BBC, TV3 and UTV - but ignored by RTE - and later that evening a well attended public meeting was held at Dundalk Townhall.
Both events were attended by Jane Winter, Director of British Irish Rights Watch, who flew over from London especially to launch her independent Report, The Death of Seamus Ludlow. The Ludlow family highlighted their demands that those responsible for Seamus Ludlow's murder should be brought to justice and for public inquiries on both sides of the border.
24 February 1999 - In a letter to the Ludlow family, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, Cavan Monaghan, wrote of his attendance at the previous Thursday's press conference. He had written to the Minister for Justice registering his support for the family's demand "for a full independent public inquiry into the murder of your uncle, Mr. Seamus Ludlow in 1976. . .".
Mr. Ó Caoláin further told Jimmy Sharkey that he was "very impressed by your presentation at the press conference. It was a breath of fresh air to witness such a case being made without fudge or by-your-leave to anyone. The sincerity of the family's position was clearly matched only by their continuing grief and sense of injustice heaped on injustice. Molaim sibh. . .".
In a letter to the Minister for Justice, Mr. Ó Caoláin said that the "information offered and the concern generated as a result, is such that I that I believe there can be no other course to address the questions raised but through the establishment by Government of a full independent inquiry.
"The terms of reference for such an inquiry must include not only the establishment of the truth concerning the brutal slaying of Mr. Ludlow but equally importantly, to establish the full facts behind the very alarming claims, clearly the strongly held view of the late Mr. Ludlow's family, that members of the Garda Siochána conspired to misdirect the family, to conceal facts established from them and that they knew the identity of the killer or killers but decided not to proceed with their investigations, let alone seek to secure convictions.
"The family of the late Seamus Ludlow believe all of the above. They believe too that there is ample evidence to substantiate their claims. The ICCL and British Irish Rights Watch have, following their own investigation of the details available, supported the family's demand for an independent public inquiry. . .
"This is, despite the passage of time, a case that warrants full investigation of all the information in Garda files and in the knowledge of the Department. The Ludlow family are intent on pressing their, in my view, justifiable demand for a full independent inquiry.
"I urge, Minister, that you now choose to establish such an investigative process. I would appreciate your response in due course and your observations on the points raised."
6 March 1999 - Jimmy Sharkey, a member of the Ludlow family, while part of a delegation from Relatives for Justice, met An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in Dublin. Mr. Ahern was handed a copy of the British Irish Rights Watch report on the murder of Seamus Ludlow. A later request for a private meeting for the Ludlow family with Mr. Ahern got no response.
7 March 1999 - In a letter to the RUC Chief Constable, the Ludlow family, responded to a letter from the RUC, dated 4 February, requesting that the family indicate the questions that they would ask the Chief Constable. The latest letter to the RUC listed a number of questions that the family wanted to ask at a meeting that they had already requested with Mr. Flanagan.
The RUC had asked the family to supply a list of questions in advance of a meeting taking place. These were the questions:
How long after the murder of Seamus Ludlow did the RUC have information on who the suspects were; and did the RUC pass this information on to the Garda Special Branch in Dublin and Dundalk in 1976?
Exactly how much information on Seamus Ludlow's killers was passed by the RUC to two Garda detectives from the Dublin Murder Squad who had travelled to Belfast in early 1979?
What was the British Army's interest in the Seamus Ludlow case which brought soldiers to the home of the late Kevin Donegan, a brother-in-law of Seamus Ludlow, at Dromintee, south Armagh, to ask questions and then to airlift him to Bessbrook for further questioning about the Gardai's line of inquiry?
What information did the murder witness Paul Hosking give to the RUC Special Branch officer who interviewed him in 1987? Why was Paul Hosking told to "forget about it, it's political"?
Why were the four suspects in Dundalk on the night of the murder, some 80 miles from their homes: were they acting alone or were they part of a much bigger operation in Dundalk that night?
Why was there a cover-up on both sides of the border?
Who was being protected in the car that night: was it the gunman?
Was one of the suspects in the car that night an agent for British Intelligence, the RUC, Special Branch or even the Garda Special Branch?
Will the RUC officers who held this information be held accountable for their actions?
These were the questions and issues that the Ludlow family wanted to put to the RUC Chief Constable, but no such meeting has been granted.
10 March 1999 - In a letter to the Ludlow family, Adam Ingram, Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office, stated "that every effort is being made to bring to justice those responsible for this appalling murder". Mr. Ingram added that it would be inappropriate for him to make any further comment until the DPP investigation into the case was completed.
April 1999 - This month's issue of Magill magazine, Dublin, featured a detailed article about Seamus Ludlow's murder by journalist Liz Walsh.
(This Chronology continues on another page. . . )
Back to Chronology, Page 1.
Launch of Joe Tiernan's book The Dublin and Monaghan Bombings and the Murder Triangle
Copyright © 2003 the Ludlow
family. All rights reserved.
Revised: June 13, 2003 .