24 February 2006

Ludlow family seek answers over dropping of charges

Belfast Telegraph

By Michael McHugh
24 February 2006

The family of Co Louth loyalist murder victim Seamus Ludlow may write to the Irish Director of Public Prosecutions to find out why the decision to prosecute four suspects was dropped.

Mr Ludlow's nephew Jimmy Sharkey said he was encouraged by recent news the DPP in the Republic is reviewing a policy of not giving reasons for his decisions and is to discuss the development with his lawyer.

The victim was shot dead by north Down loyalists in May 1976 close to his Dundalk home after being picked up in a car. Four suspects were quizzed by the RUC in 1998, but the Ulster DPP decided not to prosecute. Counterparts in the Republic concurred with the decision.

"We would be keen to get as much information as we can about the case," Mr Sharkey said.

"We have our suspicions about why the case was dropped but we would like some answers from the DPP.

"Two of those questioned made admissions of involvement, although they contradicted each other, and we know that cases have been taken in the past on the basis of admissions."

There have been a string of inquiries into the killing after the original 1976 Garda investigation failed to yield results.

The Irish parliament's justice committee is considering alleged failings in the police's handling of the matter, based on a review by Irish Justice Henry Barron, made public last year.

Investigating officer Superintendent John Courtney says he requested permission to interview suspects named by the RUC in 1979 but was refused authority to go north.

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