LIES OVER LUDLOW KILLING
An inquest into the death of a County Louth man shot dead by a
unionist paramilitary/British Army murder gang has been told
that the 26-County Gardai police knew the identity of his
killers within 18 months, but never sought their extradition.
Seamus Ludlow, a 47 year old forestry worker, was shot and
dumped in a laneway near his home in North Louth in May 1976.
When Mr Ludlow was shot the Gardai blamed the Provisional IRA.
However, retired Garda Detective Inspector John Courtney told
the inquest that the IRA had been eliminated as suspects within
two or three months.
For years the Gardai led the family and the public to believe
the IRA had killed him, and did not dispel false allegations
that Mr Ludlow had worked as a police informer.
Mr Courtney also revealed that on while on a visit to Belfast on
a separate investigation, sources in the then RUC police in the
North had given him details of the shooting, including the names
and addresses of those involved.
He said he was amazed no action was ever taken as he had written
a report and passed it on to his superiors.
His family, who campaigned for this inquest, the second into the
death, have always believed he was hitching a lift home the
previous night when he was picked up by the murder gang,
comprising members of the paramilitary UDA and the British Army.
Mr Courtney said the information he had obtained was passed on
to C3, the section in Garda headquarters that dealt with the
"I heard no more about it afterwards. I made inquiries and was
told nothing was being done about it and that was that," he
Less than a month later he followed up on it as he wanted to
interview the suspects but needed "authority and I didn't get
any authority to do it".
He was told by a garda in C3 that the "man in charge would not
do anything about it". There was no explanation given to him, he
Cross-examined by Deirdre Murphy, for the Ludlow family, whether
he got some explanation from headquarters, Mr Courtney said: "I
suppose they sat on it in headquarters. I was anxious to
interview them. I couldn't do it without authority and I didn't
get any authority to do it."
Asked how often he looked for the authority, he replied, "once,
it might have been a month or three weeks after it. I put every
effort into solving the murder".
In reply to a question from one of the jurors, made through the
coroner, Ronan Maguire, the witness said the RUC gave him, "the
names, addresses and circumstances of the murder", but not the
He was told Mr Ludlow, "was walking out the road home and was
picked up. It was late at night".
The postmortem revealed he had been shot three times, and his
body dumped in a laneway.