Welcome to the Ludlow family's website for the Seamus Ludlow Truth and Justice Campaign.
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A photograph of Seamus Ludlow, aged 47, Thistlecross, Mountpleasant, Dundalk, County Louth, who was abducted and murdered after leaving a public house in Dundalk, County Louth by UDR/Red Hand Commando on 2 May 1976.
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The Ludlow family circle's long campaign for truth and justice is supported by distinguished human rights activists in Britain and Ireland, by local and national politicians and by the vast majority in the local community in south Armagh and north Louth, many of whom knew the late Seamus Ludlow.
The Ludlow family believes that the Loyalist killers should be prosecuted for their crime, though the family does question why such prosecutions should take place in a Six County court when the murder was committed in the 26-Counties jurisdiction. Why indeed was the murder of Louthman Seamus Ludlow in his native County Louth ever a matter for the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) to investigate or the Northern Ireland Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to consider?
The failure of the RUC and Northern Ireland DPP to bring charges against any of the four loyalist suspects, including two who had signed statements, as well as his refusal to explain the reasons behind this decision, does nothing to inspire confidence that justice was ever possible in Belfast. This is only one of many outrageous decisions taken by the DPP in a whole range of cases involving murders committed by the British Army and the RUC. Overwhelmingly, the victims of the Crown Forces and their Loyalist surrogates in the Six Counties are Catholics and nationalists, and their deaths in many cases count for nothing. To say that the Northern Ireland DPP has a bad track record in such cases is hardly an exaggeration.
This photograph of Kevin Ludlow links to press reports of his late brother's 1976 murder. Kevin Ludlow is seen here reading press cuttings from May 1976.
Seamus Ludlow's good name should be restored for all to see. Kevin Ludlow, the victim's only surviving brother, pictured here, demands no less than this. Those who protected the killers by lying to the family and by suppressing vital evidence should be brought to account for their actions. These facts should be laid bare at full and public inquiries where the family and its lawyers should have the right to subpoena witnesses and ask vital questions. Without full truth and justice there can be no rest for the family of Seamus Ludlow who have lived with a terrible loss for 23 years.
The Ludlow family has reached out to national and local politicians and to respected human rights activists for support in its calls for public inquiries and for access to police files held by the RUC and the Garda. Support for the Ludlow family's demand for public inquiries has come from Newry and Mourne District Council and from Louth County Council. Family deputations have attended meetings of both local councils and addressed the elected representatives who have spoken out clearly in support of the family's demands. A detailed report of the meeting with Louth County Council was published in the local Dundalk Democrat newspaper on 25 December 1999. In both instances the Ludlow family was very satisfied with the support given by local councillors.
Several members of both elected bodies have been solidly behind the Ludlow family for quite some time, and their continued support is appreciated. The Ludlow family is particularly appreciative of the support given by the late Councillor Miceal O'Donnell, a dear friend and neighbour of the late Seamus Ludlow, who attended the family's press conference and public meeting in February 1999, wearing his chain of office in his capacity as Chairman of Louth County Council. Councillor O'Donnell's death in August 2000 was a grave loss to the Ludlow family.
The campaign has also been supported by British Labour MPs Tony Benn and Ken Livingstone who have responded to letters which were sent to them. Their British Labour Party colleague Kevin McNamara MP has asked questions about the murder of Seamus Ludlow in the British House of Commons. Seamus Mallon, MP for Newry and Armagh, has made representations to Mr. John O'Donoghue TD, Minister of Justice, in Dublin.
In the Irish Republic, several TDs, Senators and local councillors have also supported the Ludlow family's just demands. The family has been in contact with Senator Fergus O'Dowd, and Seamus Kirk, TD for Louth, and Caoimhghin O Caolain TD for Cavan-Monaghan, who have been particularly helpful. Mr. Kirk kindly attended the Ludlow family's 25th anniversary commemoration at the murder scene on 29th April 2001, and he has continued to support the Ludlow family. Representations have also been made by Mr. Dermot Ahern TD for Louth, and Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs in the Dublin Government.
The Ludlow family has requested and received tremendous support from several human rights groups, particularly from British Irish RIGHTS WATCH, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, the Pat Finucane Centre and Relatives for Justice. With their help and encouragement, the Ludlow family has been able to have its voice heard by the authorities in Dublin and in Belfast. The Ludlow family was delighted to have Paul O'Connor of the Pat Finucane Centre and Monsignor Raymond Murray of Relatives for Justice with them for the 25th anniversary commemoration for Seamus Ludlow on April 29th 2001.
The Ludlow family have been encouraged by the support that they have received from Monsignor Raymond Murray (RFJ), Paul O'Connor (PFC), Don Mullan, Jane Winter (BIRW) and many others who have helped their campaign progress since March 1998. Professor Bill Rolston (University of Ulster) devoted a whole chapter of his recent book Unfinished Business: State Killings and the Quest For Peace (Beyond the Pale Publications, Belfast, 2000) to the Seamus Ludlow case. Unfortunately, Bill has experienced some difficulty in getting his excellent book distributed in Ireland because one major retailer/distributor has refused to take it. However, the Ludlow family appreciates Professor Rolston's valiant effort to place the stories of the forgotten victims of state killings to the wider world..
Support, has not been confined to groups and individuals in Ireland. Indeed, the Ludlow family has been given considerable support by good friends in the United States: Cathleen O'Brien of Friends of Irish Freedom and Jim J. Kane of Irish Organizations United.
Contacts with the authorities on both sides of the border have largely failed to get more than a vague response citing the ongoing deliberations of the Northern Ireland DPP as a reason for not commenting on the claims being made by the family. Many questions have been asked and very few are being answered. The only positive response from the British authorities came in a letter to the family from Adam Ingram MP, Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office. Dated 10 March 1999, and commenting on the BIRW Report, Mr Ingram wrote:
"I have read the Report with interest, and assure you that every effort is being made to bring to justice those responsible for this appalling murder.
"You will be aware that a police file in respect of your uncle's case is currently with the Director of Public Prosecutions, and, as it remains under consideration, it would be inappropriate for me to make any further comment until the DPP investigation into the case is complete."
Unfortunately, whatever efforts were being made to bring Seamus Ludlow's killers to justice, Mr Ingram's assurances are no longer helpful. The prosess has now been stalled by the DPP's decision in Belfast, but this does not bring a halt to the Ludlow family's campaign for truth and justice. Support is still being given to the family's campaign.
The Ludlow family has received encouragement and support from other grieving families of British and Loyalist killer gangs in the border area and further afield. Particularly strong links have been established with survivors and relatives of victims of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, the Dundalk and Castleblaney bombings, all of which occurred in the early and mid-1970s, and have been treated with the same derision and indifference by the Dublin authorities down the years since. Representatives of all three campaigns laid wreaths at Seamus Ludlow's memorial at the murder scene in May 2001, when they helped the Ludlow family mark the 25th anniversary of his murder at that spot. The Ludlow family hopes that all of these families will achieve the justice and truth that they demand.
These families have recently combined their campaigns in an umbrella group the Border Relatives Group, which will work closely with Justice for the Forgotten which represents the relatives and survivors of the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings. Photographed here is Jimmy Sharkey, second from left, at the launch of this new grouping. To his left is journalist Joe Tiernan, who in December 2002 published his book The Dublin and Monaghan Bombings and the Murder Triangle. The photograph links to a page about this important development.
Recent efforts have brought Seamus Ludlow's, now 25-year-old, murder to public attention for the first time in many years. There have been significant developments which signal the scale of the institutional resistance on both sides of the Irish border to the search for the truth behind the murder of Seamus Ludlow.
The Northern Ireland Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in a letter, signed by W A R McCarey, Assistant Director, dated 15 October 1999, informed the Ludlow family of a decision not to bring prosecutions the against the four Loyalist suspects who were arrested on 17 February 1998. The DPP had been reviewing an investigation file drawn up by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) since 23 October 1998. Two of the suspects have signed statements which implicate the others in the crime.
In his letter the Assistant Director wrote:
"it has been concluded that there is no reasonable prospect of a conviction of any person reported therein. . . Consequently a direction for no prosecution in the matter has today issued to the Chief Constable."
The Dublin Government announced on 29 September 1999 its decision on the format of a private inquiry which has been recommended by the Irish Victims' Commissioner John Wilson. In his recent Report "A Place and a Name" the Commissioner had called for a private inquiry, whereas the family of Seamus Ludlow has publicly called for full and public inquiries in both jurisdictions into both the murder and the conduct of police investigations.
These developments fall pitifully short of the Ludlow family's demand for basic truth and justice. The dark secrets which were protected by smearing Seamus Ludlow and ensuring that his Loyalist killers were never brought to justice remain safe while the authorities north and south add further insult to injury for the family of the innocent victim. This is not justice, rather it is farce. It is disgusting and the authorities seem intent in opposing truth every step of the way.
Seamus Ludlow's Loyalist killers remain at large, safe from the justice which the Northern Ireland authorities and some people in Dublin never wanted them to face. Seamus Ludlow is still expendable, but his family is not finished yet.
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Return to Home Page.
Go to Chronology.
Go to Michael Cunningham's Investigation, 1978.
Go to The BIRW Report.
Go to Support from the Pat Finucane Centre and ICCL.
Go to Support from Louth County Council.
Go to a Map of Seamus Ludlow's home area.
The Dundalk Democrat reports the publication of investigative journalist Joe Tiernan's controversial new book, The Dublin and Monaghan Bombings and the Murder Triangle
Relatives for Justice - New Site
© 2003 the Ludlow family. All rights reserved.
Revised: January 16, 2003 .