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Cross-border investigation to be held into 1976 murder of Louth man

Seamus Ludlow, 47, a forestry worker, was killed on his way home from a pub.

Members of Seamus Ludlow’s family, sisters Eileen Fox (r) and Ann Sharkey (centre) with brother Brendan Ludlow (centre left) and nephew Michael Donaghan.
Members of Seamus Ludlow’s family, sisters Eileen Fox (r) and Ann Sharkey (centre) with brother Brendan Ludlow (centre left) and nephew Michael Donaghan.
Image: PA

AN INDEPENDENT CROSS-border investigation will be carried out into the murder of a man shot dead in Louth in 1976.

Seamus Ludlow, 47, a forestry worker, was killed on his way home from a pub in Dundalk, Louth.

Ludlow’s family have led a campaign spanning decades to find the truth of the events surrounding his murder.

His family has long maintained Ludlow was an innocent victim of a loyalist death squad comprising Red Hand Commando operatives and two members of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) who travelled from Northern Ireland into the Republic of Ireland to commit the murder.

Family solicitor Gavin Booth said the investigation will be led by Jon Boutcher, a former police chief in England.

The PA news agency understands the investigation will form part of the wider Barnard Review into a notorious loyalist murder gang that operated from a farmhouse in Glenanne, Co Armagh.

Boutcher’s team will review the evidence and information held by the PSNI, the families, security forces and any other relevant agencies.

Speaking at the Lisdoo Arms, where Ludlow was last seen alive, Booth also revealed that a witness has come forward with “significant information” in the last two weeks.

He added: “Seamus was a quiet man.

“He was a family man and occasionally visited pubs in Dundalk and was known for his charitable work here.

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“He was not political and was not interested in the conflict in the North and worked full-time and was a devoted family man.”

Joined by members of Ludlow’s family, Booth said the investigation will include the cooperation of both the Police Service of Northern Ireland and An Garda Síochána.

“This investigation will be headed by Jon Boutcher who will look at the actions of all those who played a part in the role of the murder of Seamus Ludlow,” he added.

“This includes the gardai, the British Army, the SAS, the RUC and any unknown others, including those suspects that were let go.”

The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) told the gardaí in 1979 the names of four loyalists it suspected of being involved in Ludlow’s killing but the information was not pursued at the time.

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