Pól Ó Lorcáin
Paul Larkin

Chroniclers are privileged to enter where they list, to come and go through keyholes, to ride upon the wind, to overcome in their soarings up and down, all obstacles of distance, time and place.
Charles Dickens - Barnaby Rudge, Chapter The Ninth

the murder of Séamus Ludlow

Below is a letter I have sent to Daily Ireland in response to its excellent front page article on the Séamus Ludlow affair. Séamus Ludlow was a forestry worker who was murdered by loyalists, some of whom were also members of the Britsh army. This random murder took place on the outskirts of Dundalk and even today, I find the details of how poor Séamus Ludlow was killed to be extremely distressing. As is often the case in loyalist killings, there was drink involved and a "any fenian will do" mentality amongst the perpetrators. However, the cover up (on both sides of the border) which followed Ludlow's killing has added to the pain which his surviving family have had to endure. The best place to go for information regarding the Ludlow' family's campaign for justice and truth is the Ludlow family's own web site at:

Letter to Daily Ireland:

A heagarthóir a chara

Your front page article dealing with a possible policy of cooperation between An Garda Síochána and the RUC was an important contribution to the debate about cross border security during the so called Troubles. My view, however, is that the article did not go to the very heart of the issue. The key point is not whether the RUC and the Gardai were cooperating. Officially, police forces which regard themselves as being in two different jurisdictions have every right to cooperate on issues of mutual concern.

No, the core issue is whether the Irish government, at Cabinet level, knowingly sanctioned a form of background support for a British intelligence/RUC campaign of covert harassment and targeting for murder of republican activists. In this scenario, RUC Special Branch and/or the British army would be tacitly allowed to carry out “interventions”, which included the arrest and intimidation of Irish citizens they believed to be “subversive”. Of course, once this policy was enacted there would be no control over how the RUC, and the British intelligence services would exploit this cowardly political largesse and what actually began to happen was that they, and their surrogate death squads within the UDA/UVF and UDR, began a campaign of bombing and murder of Irish citizens very often regardless of the politics professed by those citizens.

It is my belief that such a murderous policy existed and that the evidence available from frequent cross border attacks, and the murders of Seamus Ludlow and John Francis Green in particular, points very strongly in this direction. Any journalist who has talked to senior members of the Garda Síochána who served at that time will tell you that the IRA and its support base was regarded as the sole enemy and that the security culture was to assist the RUC to get on with doing its job of defeating irredentist republicanism. In my book, A Very British Jihad, I point out that two of the most senior RUC officers involved in liaison with the Gardaí were also involved in manipulating the activities of loyalist death squads for their own purposes. It beggars belief to suggest that the security authorities in Dublin were not aware of this. Indeed, the most serious charge against the Free State government at that time is that it knew about RUC torture of suspects, collusion with loyalists and joint RUC loyalist cross border raids and yet continued with their “Get The IRA” policy.

In the cold light of the post GFA dawn, we can see this disastrous security policy for what it was. In essence, the facilitating of a British Intelligence inspired Trojan Horse into the very heart of Irish society and culture. A policy which ensured a partitionist security agenda whose prime aim, in my view, was to cast doubt and suspicion on any Irish person prepared to offer support to beleaguered Catholics and Nationalists in the North. The legacy of this partitionist culture will be abroad in this country for many years to come and perhaps that was the long term intention.

Beir bua agus beannacht libh.

Paul Larkin

Baile Átha Cliath


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