30 March 2006

UK urged to probe Ludlow collusion concerns

Belfast Telegraph

By Michael McHugh
30 March 2006

Northern Ireland's authorities should address the "gravest concerns" about collusion between the security forces and loyalists in the loyalist murder of a Dundalk man in the 1970s, a Dail report has stated.

The report into the murder of Seamus Ludlow (47), by Red Hand Commando gunmen in May, 1976, was published yesterday by the Justice Committee in Dublin. It has raised fresh fears about collusion.

The dossier also includes calls for further inquiries, short of the public inquiry demanded by Mr Ludlow's relatives, as well as criticism of northern decision-makers. The random victim was picked up in Dundalk while hailing a lift home and shot dead near his house.

Two of the four suspected assassins were members of the UDR at the time and there are questions about the actions of the British Army and the RUC in the period after the killings.

"The sub-committee has the gravest concerns about the role collusion played in the murder of Seamus Ludlow," the report stated.

"Two of the suspects were serving members of the UDR. The brother-in-law of Seamus Ludlow, Mr Kevin Donegan, was detained the day after the funeral by the British Army. The British Army wanted to know what the Gardai knew about the case.

"Notes of the interrogation of Mr Kevin Donegan by the British Army have not been made available by the British authorities. There was a delay of eighteen months before relevant information (on the identity of the loyalist murder suspects) was passed on by the RUC to the Gardai."

The report is the product of three months of work on the case, which was sparked by earlier reviews by senior gardai, as well as an inquiry by former Irish Supreme Court Justice Henry Barron.

The committee recommended a re-examination of the case by the Garda, the establishment of an Historic Enquiries Team to investigate unsolved Troubles murders in the Republic and a commission of investigation similar to that which has unearthed more information on the Dublin/Monaghan bombings in 1974.

A nephew of Mr Ludlow, Jimmy Sharkey, said he was disappointed but not surprised that calls for a public inquiry had been spurned.

"We need something of substance, we need an independent public inquiry with the power to compel witnesses," he said.

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