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12 October 2006 Edition

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Review - BBC documentary confronts Ludlow murderers

Ludlow family betrayed by state

TV Review


Death of Ordinary Man


On the 2 May 1976, 47-year-old Seamus Ludlow, from Dundalk, was abducted by unionist paramilitaries and murdered just outside the town. BBC television's Spotlight programme, broadcast on Tuesday 9 October covered the story and while not revealing much in the way of new information, gave us a fascinating insight into the characters of the alleged murderers as they were pursued, on camera and asked to comment on their alleged roles in the murder.

The man suspected of actually pulling the trigger, Sam Black Carroll, also known by the nickname 'Mambo', in a truly psycopathic performance denied all knowledge of the shooting but went on to defend it and all unionist paramilitary murders.

The other suspects - Paul Hosking, William Long, and James Fitzsimmons were suspected members of the Red Hand Commando, a gang with numerous links to British intelligence. Its deceased leader John McKeague was linked to the Kincora scandal involving child sexual abuse at a residential care centre. It was suspected that MI6 used Kincora as a means of blackmailing senior civil servants and unionist politicians. It was covered up for years. When the matter was finally forced out into the open McKeague was assassinated by two members of the INLA subsequently proved to be British agents.

A similar pattern occurred after the murder of Seamus Ludlow. Rumours that he was killed by the IRA started with a visit to family members in South Armagh and were enthusiastically followed up by the Gardaí. The hurt and division this caused to the family was palpable in the interviews given by the sisters of Seamus, Eileen Fox and Ann Sharkey.

Garda collaboration

These interviews made the protestations from former Gardaí, Eoin Corrigan and John McCourtney, that they tried to take action on information they received in 1979 from the RUC about the identity of the culprits hypocritical in the extreme. It wasn't until 1997 that the Gardaí admitted that it wasn't the IRA. They could have alleviated the pain and division in the family so poignantly told by the sisters by lifting a phone.

The above facts point strongly to collaboration between the Gardaí and British state forces in the murder of Seamus Ludlow. However when Justice Minister Michael McDowell was asked by the programme to comment on the Ludlow murder and the issues surrounding it he had nothing to say. The family were doubly victimised both in the murder of Seamus and the cruel cover up that caused so much division. As Seamus' nephew Jimmy Sharkey told the programme, the family had been betrayed by the state.

Justice demands that the truth emerges.



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