As the Deputy may be aware, the Garda Commissioner met with the family of the late Seamus Ludlow on 2 December last. This murder was a callous and senseless act of random violence perpetrated against an innocent man. I have the utmost sympathy for the Ludlow family who feel the pain of Seamus' loss every day. It is a matter of profound regret that, in common with so many troubles related deaths, nobody has yet been brought to justice for his murder.
The Deputy will be aware that the Barron Commission of Inquiry carried out an extensive investigation into the circumstances of the Seamus Ludlow case and Judge Barron submitted his report to the then Taoiseach in 2004. The report was referred to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights, a sub-committee of which held a series of public hearings and issued a report in March 2006.
It is beyond question that there were serious failures in the original Garda investigation. In the course of the sub-committee hearings, the former Garda Commissioner Pat Byrne, the then Commissioner, Noel Conroy, and the then Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Michael McDowell, apologised to the Ludlow family for the way in which they had been treated by the Gardaí at the time.
There have been four separate Garda investigations: the initial (and flawed) investigation; in1979/1980; in 1996/1999; and following the Barron Report. The Garda investigation is not closed and if further evidence comes to light that might permit a prosecution, then An Garda Síochána would be in a position to seek that the matter is re-considered by the DPP.
A second Coroner’s inquest into Mr Ludlow’s death was directed by the Attorney General in September 2005, which returned a verdict of unlawful killing.
At the meeting on 2 December, the Garda Commissioner undertook to examine a number of issues of concern to the Ludlow family. I will await the Commissioner's considered view on these matters.
I again extend my deepest sympathies to the Ludlow family.