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21 October 1999 Edition

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No prosecutions in Ludlow case

Call on Taoiseach to reverse decision on `private' inquiry



Relatives of Seamus Ludlow, who was murdered by a group of loyalists, including two serving UDR members, in County Louth in May 1976, have been informed that the DPP in the North is not to prosecute four men arrested in connection with the killing last year. The victim's relatives have reacted angrily, saying that they are ``totally opposed'' to an inquiry being held in private.

``Mr Ludlow's nephew, Michael Donegan, said: ``As a family we are disgusted. We don't know yet what our options are legally, but we are not going to accept this. Clearly there is no political will to find these killers. They have decided to cover up everything that happened 23 years ago and everything that happened since. Where is the justice?''

Director of British Irish Rights Watch Jane Winter said: ``You need a public inquiry when the ordinary criminal justice system has failed to deal with a crime, as happened with the Ludlow case.

``From the point of view of the relatives it is very unsatisfactory. They are desperate to know the truth - they have been living with lies and deception for many years''.

Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín O Caoláin has written to the Taoiseach urging him to reverse the Government's decision, announced by Bertie Ahern in the Dáil on 29 September, to hold a private inquiry into the Ludlow case with no published report. He says a public inquiry is needed now more than ever.

The Cavan/Monaghan TD said: ``It is beyond belief given the evidence in this case, including the sworn testimony of a man who was with the group which killed Seamus Ludlow, and who witnessed the killing directly, that no charges are to be brought. There has been a cover-up in this case by both the RUC and the gardai for over two decades. The family of the victim have been treated abominably and this decision compounds their grief.

``The Taoiseach told the Dáil on 29 September that the Government accepted the recommendation of the Report of the Victims Commission for a private inquiry into this case with no published report. The reason given for this course by Victims Commissioner John Wilson was `to avoid compromising any criminal prosecutions'.

``Given the failure to prosecute by the DPP in the North the Irish Government's decision must now be changed and a public inquiry set in train. I have written to the Taoiseach today urging that this issue be addressed without delay.''

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