Northern Ireland news

Seamus Ludlow family to meet Garda Commissioner Drew Harris

Seamus Ludlow (47) was shot dead as he came home from a pub
Connla Young

The family of murdered Co Louth man Seamus Ludlow are to meet Garda commissioner Drew Harris to discuss the case.

The 47-year-old was shot dead close to his home outside Dundalk in May 1976 by a loyalist gang that included members of the UDR and outlawed Red Hand Commando.

Two of those suspected of involvement later allegedly made admissions and even drew sketches of the murder scene when arrested by the RUC in 1998.

A year later the Department for Public Prosecutions (DPP) decided not put anyone before the courts for the murder.

In March this year relatives of Mr Ludlow were given leave to take judicial review proceedings against the Public Prosecution Service, which replaced the DPP, over the failure to take action.

The Ludlow family has previously called for an independent inquiry into the Garda investigation and into what happened to files on the case which later went missing.

In 2006 a joint Oireachtas committee recommended that two commissions of investigation should be set up to look into the issues around the case.

The recommendations came after a report into the murder was produced by retired High Court judge Henry Barron.

Relatives are also taking separate legal action in the Court of Appeal in Dublin in a bid to force the Irish government to proceed with the recommendations.

In 1979 the RUC gave Gardai the names of four loyalists it suspected of being involved in Mr Ludlow's killing but nothing was done with the information.

In 1998, named suspects were arrested and questioned by the RUC.

Two of the men allegedly made confessions about their involvement in the brutal murder.

Mr Ludlow's nephew Michael Donegan said his family will continue its campaign for justice.

“Most of the facts have only come to light through investigative journalism and we remain committed to finding out the full facts of our case,” he said.

The family's solicitor Gavin Booth last night said “there is a considerable public interest in ensuring all facts and circumstances are known”.

A spokesperson for the PPS said: “As this case is subject to ongoing judicial review proceedings, it would not be appropriate to comment at this stage.”

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