04 November 2005

Seamus Ludlow - 29 years of waiting for justice

Relatives for Justice

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Seamus Ludlow was abducted and murdered by armed Loyalists and British soldiers outside the town of Dundalk on the night of 1st. and 2nd May 1976. He was last seen thumbing a lift home from the pub at around midnight before he disappeared.

Despite false claims that were encouraged by the Irish Gardai that Seamus Ludlow had been murdered by the IRA because he was an informer, it is now known that both the Gardai and the RUC in the North of Ireland were aware at least in 1979, if not even earlier, that the killers were in fact Loyalists. They knew that they included at least two locally recruited members of the British Army.

The killers all came from the Comber and Newtownbards areas of north Down. Information which would have identified these killers was suppressed for more than 20 years, allowing these men to remain free and at liberty to kill again.

Four Loyalists were arrested by the RUC in February 1998. They were all released without charge, pending an investigation report being sent to the Northern Ireland Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). On 15 October 1999, the DPP ruled that none of the suspects would be charged with any offence, even though two of them have signed incriminating statements while in RUC custody. The others are described as two former members of the illegal Red Hand Commando death squad as well as members of the British Army's Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR), one of whom was a captain in that discredited force, which is now known as the Royal Irish Regiment (RIR). The third man, known as Mambo, is also described as a Red Hand Commando figure who may also have been an agent for some branch of the British forces.

The Ludlow family has demanded public inquiries on both sides of the border to uncover exactly why Seamus Ludlow's murder was never properly investigated. They want to know why Seamus Ludlow's name was smeared by the authorities and why his killers were never brought to justice by the Gardai or by the RUC, who had identified them many years ago. They demand full truth and justice for an innocent victim who never received either from the authorities in the past.

The Ludlow family wants to know who gave the orders for the cover-up of the evidence and the smearing of the victim. Who was being protected, and why? Why was the Ludlow family excluded from their loved-one's inquest on 19th August 1976. Will those individuals responsible for the abuses of authority in this case ever be brought to account for their actions?

The Ludlow family is supported in their demands by several distinguished human rights groups: British Irish Rights Watch (BIRW), the Irish Council for Civil Liberties and by the Pat Finucane Centre and a large number of local and national politicians on both sides of the border and in Britain. BIRW have compiled an independent Report on the murder of Seamus Ludlow, in which they support the Ludlow family's demands for truth and justice. The BIRW report has been circulated to the Irish and British authorities. Jane Winter, Director, BIRW, launched her independent report at the Ludlow family's press conference on 18 February 1999.

Michael Donegan - Nephew of Seamus Ludlow

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