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Last updated: 13/01/03 Print this page
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Seamus Ludlow, a Catholic bachelor, was murdered near his County Louth home on 2 May 1976 by killers who have never been brought to justice. Almost immediately after his death, Seamus Ludlow was smeared by the Gardai and pro-British elements as an informer who was murdered by the IRA. These lies persisted for more than twenty years, even though, as it is now known, both the Gardai and the RUC had positively identified the four Loyalist suspects in 1979, if not much earlier.
In vain the Ludlow family searched for truth and justice where it could not be found. The Gardai had no interest in being truthful about the progress of their investigation. They never told the Ludlow family that the original investigation was suspended after only three weeks or that they had the names of four prime suspects soon after the murder was committed. There was no new evidence was the only reply that Kevin Ludlow ever received when he inquired into the progress of the investigation.
The Ludlow family is particularly grateful for the efforts of the two investigative journalists, Ed Moloney and Joe Tiernan, who have independently brought together pieces of the puzzle which has long distressed the Ludlow family. Joe Tiernan took an interest in Seamus Ludlow's murder, and other related killings along the border, several years ago, and Ed Moloney conducted an exclusive interview with Paul Hosking in March 1998. This page will recount the more recent disclosures made by Ed Moloney before going on to record Joe Tiernan's earlier revelations.
Joe Tiernan is now the author of the controversial book The Dublin and Monaghan Bombings and the Murder Triangle. This book, published in December 2002, and 16 years in the writing, brings together damning evidence of British Army and RUC collusion with Loyalist killers on both sides of the border.
Today, with precious little assistance from the Gardai, who are still withholding information, the Ludlow family has identified the four prime suspects who were arrested by the RUC in February 1998. Indeed, it was the family's initial and quite independent discovery, who of one of the four names which compelled the Gardai to press ahead with an investigation led by Chief Superintendent Ted Murphy, of the Drugs Squad, Dublin Castle. It was the internal Murphy Inquiry which instigated the four arrests by the RUC in 1998. Aided by the journalist Joe Tiernan, who had informed them that the Gardai had known all along of Loyalist involvement in Seamus Ludlow's murder, members of the Ludlow family called on the then Garda Commissioner to reopen the Ludlow case. This he subsequently did, by ordering the Murphy inquiry, eventually leading to four arrests and many more disturbing revelations about the Garda and RUC cover-up.
Great strides for truth were made recently through the tireless efforts of respected investigative journalist Ed Moloney, northern editor of the Dublin Sunday Tribune (photographed below). It was he who revealed much new information about Seamus Ludlow's murder in May 1976, having interviewed a witness to the crime, one Paul Hosking, in the Sunday Tribune of 8 March 1998. In the following week's issue (15 March), The Sunday Tribune, in an editorial, called for an inquiry into the murder of Seamus Ludlow. To date, this is the only national newspaper to make such a demand.
Paul Hosking, a former UDA member from Comber, County Down, claims to have witnessed the murder of Seamus Ludlow. He claims that he was in the company of three members of the outlawed loyalist murder gang Red Hand Commando, two of whom were in the British Army's UDR, in Dundalk on the night of Seamus Ludlow's murder. All four men were arrested by the RUC in February 1998 and released without charge. The Northern Ireland DPP has also failed to press charges even though two of the suspects have made statements about the crime.
Although the names three former UDR/Red Hand Commando suspects are well known, they will not be named here. It is the Ludlow' family's intention to put on record the truth behind Seamus Ludlow's murder and the subsequent cover-up. It is not necessary at this stage to name the three suspects or their protectors. The Ludlow family hopes that these people will account for their actions in court or at a public inquiry.
This photograph of journalist Ed Moloney. Several of Mr. Moloney's recent Sunday Tribune articles on the murder of Seamus Ludlow, including his interview with Paul Hosking, can be accessed on the Pat Finucane Centre's web site.
Since his interview with Paul Hosking, the journalist Ed Moloney has reported the case on several occasions. He has reported strong resistance in the Department of Justice in Dublin, to the family's demand for a public inquiry into the murder of Seamus Ludlow. Indeed, on 3 October 1999, Mr. Moloney goes so far as to state that it was "successful pressure" from the Department of Justice which was behind the previous week's announcement by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's announcement that the inquiries into the loyalist bombings of Dublin, Monaghan and Dundalk and the Seamus Ludlow murder would be private "and in the case of the Ludlow killing, would not result in a published report."
Mr. Moloney continues:
"Government sources say that the Ludlow investigation will also be limited in another important respect. While the inquiries into the Dublin-Monaghan and Dundalk bombings could, the sources say, open the way for a full public inquiry later on, this will not be the case as far as the Ludlow murder is concerned. The private inquiry is all that is on offer to the Ludlow relatives who have conducted a 23-year long campaign to establish the truth behind the killing.
In recent months Mr. Moloney has been threatened with imprisonment for doing his job as an investigative journalist. He refused to hand over interview notes from an interview he conducted several years ago with an RUC informer who was involved in the murder of a nationalist solicitor. The fact that the individual concerned had already confessed in a statement to the RUC his involvement in the murder of the lawyer Pat Finucane proves that his interview notes are not the issue. In a gesture of support for the journalist who helped bring the murder of Seamus Ludlow back into public notice after so many years, a letter, was sent to The Sunday Tribune. It was published on 19 September 1999. Kevin Ludlow and Jimmy Sharkey wrote:
"It was Moloney who first printed in the Sunday Tribune on 8 March 1998 an interview with one of the suspects in the car the night our brother and uncle Seamus Ludlow was murdered in 1976.
"This interview threw a spanner in the works because the family and relatives strongly believe if it had not been for this article both the RUC and the gardai were going to cover up this man's murder again.
"Why did the RUC not visit Moloney after he printed the story about the murder of Seamus Ludlow? Why did the Stevens inquiry team take action legal against Moloney within weeks of him publishing the article (about the Pat Finucane murder)? Why has it taken the DPP in Northern Ireland over 10 months to make a decision whether or not to prosecute the four suspects in the Ludlow murder?
"We feel that the real reason for this disgusting behaviour towards Ed Moloney is to discredit him both as a human being and a journalist.
"If the case against him goes ahead families like ourselves who are seeking justice will have lost the last hope of achieving this."
The Ludlow family is delighted that the Six County courts have finally abandoned attempts to force Mr. Moloney to hand over his interview notes. Mr. Moloney should be applauded for standing up for his rights as a respectable investigative journalist and for defending his rights to pursue his profession free from police interference.
The other journalist who deserves gratitude is Joe Tiernan who has been investigating this and other unsolved Loyalist-British Army killings for many years - indeed it was his findings which ultimately led to a reopening by the Garda of the long-stalled Seamus Ludlow investigation.
In October 1995 Mr. Tiernan approached relatives with information, passed to him by a former Garda, Detective Sergeant Owen Corrigan, pointing to the actual involvement of Loyalists from Portadown, led by the late Robin Jackson, the notorious "Jackal", who was responsible for many sectarian killings.
According to a Profile which can be viewed on another page, Mr. Tiernan first approached Mrs. Nan Sharkey, a sister of Seamus Ludlow, in 1985, but she did not entertain him.
Mr. Tiernan was able to assure the family that the Garda had indeed known all along that Seamus Ludlow was murdered by Loyalists, not the IRA. He had been given this information by a retired Garda detective, Owen Corrigan. This revelation confirmed the family's worst fears about the conduct of the murder inquiry in 1976.
The family issued a statement in 1996, which has recently reappeared in the book Lost Lives The Stories of the men, women and children who died as a result of the Northern Ireland troubles (1999), by David McKittrick, Seamus Kelters, Brian Feeney and Chris Thornton, from which the following is quoted:
"We now know of course know, from information provided to us by a number of highly reliable sources, that the murder was in fact carried out by the loyalist UVF based in the Lurgan area of Co Armagh and led by the notorious loyalist killer known in certain quarters as "the Jackal". This tragic situation has caused great pain and suffering to our family throughout those long dark 20 years.
"It has particularly affected those of us who knew Seamus only as children and who have since grown to adulthood. Seamus was a kind and loving uncle and brother who not only did not deserve to die like this but whose murder did not deserve such contemptuous treatment at the hands of the authorities in this State."
The statement continued:
"The tragedy and great sense of loss has been further compounded by the fact that Seamus was totally innocent of any wrongdoing and had no connection to any organisation whatsoever - political, paramilitary or otherwise. He was an ordinary working man who enjoyed a pint on a Saturday night."
Although Mr. Tiernan's information pointing to Portadown loyalists proved to be incorrect, his allegation that the Garda had known for at least 20 years the true identity of Seamus Ludlow's killers was undeniably accurate. This truth emerged from the fresh internal Garda inquiry which was launched by Garda Commissioner Culligan. The family of Seamus Ludlow owes Mr. Tiernan a deep debt of gratitude for the great service he has performed in exposing the cover-up which members of the family had long suspected but were unable to substantiate. Further, it may yet emerge that there was more than one armed gang in Dundalk on the night that Seamus Ludlow was murdered, and allegations of the Jackal's involvement may well be proven.
Jimmy Sharkey, a nephew of Seamus Ludlow, later came upon information which identified one of Seamus Ludlow's UDR/Red Hand Commando killers from north Down. He brought this information to the attention of the Garda investigation team, which appeared to be winding down, being satisfied that the family had no such information or had the wrong information. This information, he believes, put new life into the Garda inquiry, and led to the four men being arrested by the RUC in February 1998..
Mr. Tiernan has kept in contact with a member of the Ludlow family throughout the period leading up to the emergence of long-suppressed information in 1998. The journalist accompanied the Ludlow family at a press conference at Buswells Hotel in Dublin on 18 February 1999 and later that evening at a public meeting at Dundalk's Town hall.
Mr. Tiernan was also present at the launching of the Border Relatives Group at a press conference in Dublin in October 1999. The Border Relatives Group is made up of and represents the relatives and the victims of several loyalist attacks along the border, mainly in Louth and Monaghan during the 1970s. Mr. Tiernan had previously investigated a number of Loyalist attacks in the border area. His extensive researches into the murderous activities of the Loyalist killers based in Portadown have recently resulted in the publication of his new book The Dublin and Monaghan Bombings and the Murder Triangle.
According to recent revelations from a former RUC officer who was involved in a conspiracy within the RUC, these attacks were perpetrated by gangs consisting of UVF members from Portadown and neighbouring areas (led by "the Jackal" Robin Jackson), RUC officers and UDR men. Bombs were constructed at an RUC officer's farmhouse at Glennanne, County Armagh, with explosives supplied by a UDR Captain, who was also involved with British Military Intelligence. All of this, including the names of many of those involved, is revealed by Joe Tiernan in his new book.
Among their victims were Hugh Watters (aged 55) and Jack Rooney (aged 60), who were killed by a no-warning bomb attack outside Kay's Tavern public house in Dundalk on 19 December 1975, and Patrick Mohan (aged 53), a farmer, who was killed by a car bomb in Castleblaney on 7 March 1976. Mr. Mohan's widow, who later remarried, accompanied by her second husband, attended the Ludlow family's public meeting in Dundalk Town hall in February 1998 in an act of solidarity with another family that suffered a great loss. Also present at the public meeting were members of Justice for the Forgotten, the group that represents the injured and bereaved victims of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.
The newly formed Border Relatives Group will work closely with Justice for the Forgotten. It is hoped that other bereaved families who also lost relatives to pro-British murder gangs along the border will also get involved.
Present at the launch of the Border Relatives Group, along with the journalist Joe Tiernan, were Maura McKeever (daughter of Jack Rooney), Gerard Watters (son of Hugh Watters), Anna McEnaneney and Peter O'Connor, all of whom have lost relatives to loyalist attacks. Jimmy Sharkey represented the Ludlow family at the invitation of the other families
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Launch of Joe Tiernan's book The Dublin and Monaghan Bombings and the Murder Triangle
Go APRN article on Launch of the Border Relatives Group.
Go to Seamus Ludlow's Last Day.
Go to Chronology of events.
Go to a Map of Seamus Ludlow's Home Area.
Go to Profile prepared by a member of the Ludlow family circle.
Go to Four Loyalists Arrested.
Go to The Murphy Inquiry.
Go to Paul Hosking's Account.
Go to The BIRW Report.
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Copyright © 2003 The Ludlow family. All rights reserved. Revised: January 13, 2003 .