Family of Seamus Ludlow give 'cautious' welcome to coalition promise

Solicitor Gavin Booth (left), sitting with the family of Seamus Ludlow.
Solicitor Gavin Booth (left), sitting with the family of Seamus Ludlow. Solicitor Gavin Booth (left), sitting with the family of Seamus Ludlow.

THE Republic's proposed coalition government has made commitments to appoint an independent judicial figure to retrieve all documents relating to the murder of Seamus Ludlow.

Mr Ludlow (47), a forestry worker, was shot dead in 1976 in Dundalk Co Louth.

His family have long maintained he was an innocent victim of a loyalist death squad comprising a Red Hand Commando and two members of the UDR.

In a paragraph on legacy in the draft Programme for Government, published on Monday, the Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael/Green party alliance said they would also work to meet the legitimate needs of all victims.

The commitment also includes reference to working with the UK government to access all documents in relation to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings and the bombing of Kay's Tavern "in accordance with the all-party Dáil motions on these matters".

Gavin Booth of Phoenix Law, who represents the Ludlow family, said they are "cautiously optimistic" following the commitments made in the proposed programme for government.

"The Ludlow family have been steadfast in their determination to obtain justice for Seamus Ludlow both north and south and will continue their legal action in the Irish Supreme Court in the coming months and in the High Court in Belfast.

"Their case has always been that further investigative work is required by the Irish government to obtain the full facts as to what happened to Seamus.

He added that the draft document "vindicates the families position that the state is still under an obligation to further investigate this case".

"If a new government is formed we will seek immediate meetings with any new minister for Justice", he added.

Meanwhile SDLP South Down MLA Sinéad Bradley has welcomed a commitment to Narrow Water Bridge contained in the proposed Programme for Government.

"Narrow Water Bridge is an important piece of cross-border infrastructure that will bring neighbouring communities closer together and open up this part of the island for further investment", she said.

"Last week Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon announced that she has instructed officials to bring proposals on the project to her and now we have confirmation that it is a priority for parties seeking to form a government in the south.

"Thanks to many committed stalwarts, including the Narrow Water Bridge Community Network, this project remains a pivotal piece in growing our economy and developing social connectivity.”