Monthly Archives: February 2017

Democracy, Sinn Fein-Style….

A very good piece on the recent elevation of Michelle O’Neill (nee Doris) to Martin McGuinness’ old job in the Northern Assembly from Michael Clifford in The Irish Examiner.

Stalinism and armed Republicanism are like Siamese twins; always have been and always will be, peace processes notwithstanding. For ard-comhairle read politburo; for Uncle Joe read…..well do I have to spell it out?


Mock-yah democracy still rules waves

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Back in the days when Britannia ruled the waves, the party of government had a unique method of selecting a new leader, writes Michael Clifford.

Party big wigs would retire to a smoke-filled room, tipple brandy, and determine which leader would best serve the interests of those assembled.

It was taken as a given that the interests of the assembled coincided with the interests of the party and what was good for the party was good for country and empire.

This was a ‘mock-yah’ form of democracy, in which a small, privileged group wielded power way beyond their mandate.

The new leader knew where the bread was buttered, and what was expected. And on everybody trundled, plundering half the world, ruling with an iron fist where required, and offering up buckets of self-praise for Britannia as the greatest bastion of democracy known to the civilised world.

As far as I know, neither Gerry Adams nor Martin McGuinness smokes. Maybe either, or both, enjoy the odd snifter of brandy, but a wild guess might conclude that they would be more at home sharing a bottle of red wine.

Apart from that, though, it’s difficult to spot much difference in the selection of new leaders between the empire-mongers of 19th century Britain and the self-styled republicans in 21st century Ireland.

Two weeks ago, Michelle O’Neill was chosen, selected, anointed, conferred, confirmed, directed, instructed, or even ordered to take the role of leader of Sinn Féin in the North.

There is absolutely no evidence that she was elected. In fact, there has been no effort to even suggest that either the elected representatives or the membership of the party, North, South or both, had any input into her anointment.

This is astonishing. What is even more astonishing is that nobody in the party has as much as batted an eyelid. In both jurisdictions — and let’s drop the pretence that the party treats the two as one — Sinn Féin has in recent years been boosted by the election of a coterie of intelligent, able representatives.

Not one of them has even expressed an opinion on the manner in which Ms O’Neill was anointed. In parliament North and South, they argue passionately for parity of esteem for all, social justice, the basic tenets of democracy. They rail against “the elite” who have purportedly hijacked democracy at the expense of “the people”.

Yet, within the confines of their own party, they button lips and grin and bear a system which appears to involve a few individuals, pushing on in years, deciding who will lead the party into the future.

The discipline required to suppress any expression of independent thought on the matter is military in its bearing, and abhorrent to the actual ideals of republicanism.

A few days before she was anointed, word seeped into the media that Ms O’Neill was the chosen one. She was, we were told, “selected” by the leadership. But which leadership exactly?

Last Tuesday on RTÉ, Seán O’Rourke pressed her on the detail.

“The party has internal processes and we went through the Árd Chomhairle and the officer board and Martin and Gerry spoke to me,” Ms O’Neill said.

Right, well that’s clear as mud.

O’Rourke pressed her again.

“Were you elected or anointed?” he asked.

“I was chosen by the Árd Chomhairle, she said.

“There was a decision in the room, yes. It was put to the Árd Chomhairle and unanimously decided that I would be leader. Martin and Gerry spoke to me in relation to taking on the role, Gerry then put it to the Árd Chomhairle and we had a full discussion on it, people had their views.”

Right. The decision was unanimous, and people had their views, so presumably all views coincided with the recommendation from Mr Adams. Everybody got in line.

There was no alternative opinion. What Gerry said went, or at the very least, his powers of persuasion were enough to change the mind of anybody in the room with a different opinion.

The O’Rourke interview also illuminated that there apparently was a perfunctory process by which Ms O’Neill was selected.

Is there any record of that meeting, when it occurred or what was said? Is there any morsel at all in there for the notion of democracy?

In the absence of any transparency in the selection of a leader, speculation fills the vacuum. Is the chosen one anointed by the same personnel who peopled the army council of the IRA, as some suggest?

Or is it just Martin and Gerry, who have been both in the leadership of the so-called republican movement for nigh on 45 years? Do they regard the party as their personal fiefdom?

What criteria was used in the selection of Ms O’Neill? Was her family background considered? Her father served time in prison for membership of the IRA.

That might be irrelevant to the bright young things who want to effect social change in democratic societies, but it could mean something to those of the background and vintage of Messrs Adams and McGuinness.

It simply wouldn’t do to be slackening the leash of control to a Johnny-come-lately republican who signed up principally to effect socio-economic change.

No doubt she has plenty of attributes but, in the absence of a transparent process, the voter is left all at sea as to the reasoning behind why she was selected.

Later in the year there is expected to be another anointment, this time in the southern jurisdiction. Mary Lou McDonald is the favourite to succeed Mr Adams. Unlike, say Leo Varadkar, she need not canvass support among elected representatives. Unlike, say Jeremy Corbyn, her elevation will not be dependent primarily on any appeal to the wider membership of the party.

If the constituent elements of the party were fully involved, then the long-term project could be blown off course with the election of somebody wielding strong or independent thoughts on how the party should evolve.

Instead, it has been determined prospective voters have no right to know how exactly the party is being governed, and who is pulling the strings.

If anything the anointment of O’Neill is a reminder once more that there remains something of the night about Sinn Féin, even in its present incarnation. And that may go some way to explaining why, despite the political turmoil around the world, this country is still governed by the same old, same old.

Sinn Féin was the obvious vehicle to drive a degree of dramatic change.

But despite disillusion with the old order, it still prevails in this country. How could it be otherwise when in some ways, the alternative is more a throwback to the days of empire than a gateway to a bright, new world.

Trump’s Invitation To Northern Ireland

Thanks to various friends on Facebook for alerting me to this letter below. I suspect most people will understand why Arlene Foster put her name to this, after all her party and the Trump White House share many values (opposition to abortion, dislike of racial minorities, disapproval of other sexual orientations, etc, etc). But Martin McGuinness?:


Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Founded ‘Fascism Together’ At His Posh Prep School

Once again the Daily Mail’s online edition defies the paper’s image and comes up with a story that will infuriate conservatives and delight everyone else. It seems Trump’s new man on the Supreme Court was not only a spoiled brat but a Nazi-leaning spoiled brat. Enjoy:

EXCLUSIVE: Trump’s Supreme Court pick founded and led club called ‘Fascism Forever’ at his elite all-boys Washington prep school reveals how Gorsuch set up club called ‘Fascism Forever’ at his prep school outside D.C. in protest at staff’s left-wing tendencies

Father of two, 49, prayed with president and Scalia’s son, a Catholic priest, before being named as nominee on Tuesday night

Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch founded and led a student group called the ‘Fascism Forever Club’ at his elite high school, can reveal.

The club was set up to rally against the ‘left-wing tendencies’ of his professors while attending a Jesuit all-boys preparatory high school near Washington D.C.

The name may be inconvenient for a Supreme Court nominee facing a tough confirmation battle. However it also shows the depth of Gorscuch’s right-wing credentials – and his penchant for mischief while attending his exclusive prep school in the 1980s.

President Donald Trump nominated Gorsuch, a 49-year-old U.S. appellate judge, to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Tuesday.

Gorsuch founded the ‘Fascism Forever Club’ during his freshman year at Georgetown Preparatory, a now-$30,000-a-year private Jesuit school that is one of the most selective in the United States.

He served as president until he graduated in 1985, according to his senior yearbook.

One yearbook photo showed the high school senior kicking back in a chair in a button-down shirt and tie while reading William F. Buckley’s 1959 book ‘Up from Liberalism’, a key text of the conservative movement

President Donald Trump nominated Gorsuch, a 49-year-old U.S. appellate judge, to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Tuesday

Gorsuch founded the ‘Fascism Forever Club’ during his freshman year at Georgetown Preparatory, a now-$30,000-a-year private Jesuit school that is one of the most selective in the United States

The yearbook described the ‘Fascism Forever Club’ as an anti-faculty student group that battled against the ‘liberal’ views of the school administration.

‘In political circles, our tireless President Gorsuch’s “Fascism Forever Club” happily jerked its knees against the increasingly “left-wing” tendencies of the faculty,’ said the yearbook.

It is not the only example of Gorsuch’s early conservative political views. One yearbook photo showed the high school senior kicking back in a chair in a button-down shirt and tie while reading William F. Buckley’s 1959 book ‘Up from Liberalism’, a key text of the conservative movement.

Another photo shows Gorsuch leaning over a railing with his tie undone while sticking his tongue out at the camera.

The new Supreme Court pick (seen with Trump after his nomination was announced on Monday) served as president until he graduated in 1985, according to his senior yearbook

The club was set up to rally against the ‘left-wing tendencies’ of his professors while attending a Jesuit all-boys preparatory high school near Washington D.C.

At 49 years old, Gorsuch would be the youngest nominee to the Supreme Court in 25 years. He currently lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife

Gorsuch was listed as the editor and founder of The Federalist Paper at Columbia University, where he chose a quote from Henry Kissinger to go next to his photo.

He listed his other student activities as ‘President of the Yard, Student Government’ and ‘Lousy Spanish Student.’ He said he was also president of a group called the ‘Committee to reform The Beast.’

His senior quote was: ‘I am not an alkie; I never wrote a debate case!’

Gorsuch is shown in another senior photo waving his hand mid-speech outside one of the campus buildings while wearing a blue and black tie. In another, he is pictured at the bottom of a six-boy pyramid while balancing another student on his shoulders.

Georgetown Preparatory is one of the top all-boys prep schools in the United States. Former students include Sen. Chris Dodd, a handful of U.S. congressmen, and multiple members of the Kennedy family. Current tuition is $30,000 a year for day students and $50,000 a year for boarding students.

At 49 years old, Gorsuch would be the youngest nominee to the Supreme Court in 25 years. He currently lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife, Marie Louise.

Gorsuch’s conservative credentials are well-established and he was included on a list of potential Supreme Court picks approved by the Heritage Foundation

But the Supreme Court nominee (pictured front, left as a little boy) has also drawn criticism from top Democrats who vowed to oppose his nomination

Gorsuch (pictured) is not the first Republican presidential appointment in his family

His mother, Anne Gorsuch, was appointed as Environmental Protection Agency administrators by President Ronald Reagan in 1981.

Gorsuch’s conservative credentials are well-established and he was included on a list of potential Supreme Court picks approved by the Heritage Foundation. His nomination to the Supreme Court by President Donald Trump has been praised by prominent right-leaning groups, from the Faith and Freedom Coalition to the National Rifle Association. Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition

But it has also drawn criticism from top Democrats who vowed to oppose his nomination.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has already said she will object to Gorsuch’s appointment, saying he was chosen ‘by far right activist groups that were financed by big business interests.’

Rep. Nancy Pelosi called Gorsuch ‘well outside the mainstream of American legal thought’ and Sen. Bernie Sanders said the nominee will have to ‘explain his hostility to women’s rights, support of corporations over workers and opposition to campaign finance reform.’

Gorsuch is not the first Republican presidential appointment in his family. His mother, Anne Gorsuch, was appointed as Environmental Protection Agency administrators by President Ronald Reagan in 1981.

While at the agency, Anne Gorsuch oversaw massive budget cuts at the EPA and attempted rollbacks of the Clean Air Act.

She was also reportedly quite glamorous – the Washington Post described her as a woman with ‘television-star looks and perfect manicures’ who ‘wore fur coats and smoked two packs of Marlboros a day.’

Anne Gorsuch came under fire for her conservative policies, and served for just two years before resigning after clashing with congress over subpoenaed records.

Did Gardai (And RUC) Cover-Up Ludlow Slaying To Protect A British Agent In Loyalist Killer Gang?

The High Court in Dublin this week has been the scene of what may be a last-ditch attempt by the family of 47-year-old Co Louth forestry worker Seamus Ludlow to discover why Garda detectives suddenly dropped their investigation into his May 1976 murder near his home on the outskirts of Dundalk.

An Oireachtas Joint House Committee which held hearings on the circumstances of Mr Ludlow’s killing in 2006 and also based their findings on a report compiled by retired High Court judge, Henry Barron, recommended that two commissions of inquiry be established by the government. But this was never done.

Seamus Ludlow - abducted and killed by a carload of Loyalists in Dundalk

Seamus Ludlow – abducted and killed by a carload of Loyalists in Dundalk

At the heart of the affair are allegations of a double cover up, one by the then RUC in the North and the other by the Gardai who not only allegedly dropped their investigation of Mr Ludlow’s death within weeks of it happening but also wrongly accused the IRA of responsibility and suggested members of Mr Ludlow’s family may have known about the killing.

Back in March 1998 this reporter published the first full account of the events surrounding Mr Ludlow’s death in The Sunday Tribune newspaper (see below for full text). It was based on the recollection of Paul Hosking, a 41-year old Protestant from Newtownards, Co Down who was an eye-witness to the killing and who said he reported what he had seen to the RUC in 1987, eleven years before his story became public.

Hosking, who had once been a low-level member of the UDA, said he had been caught up by chance in the Ludlow killing after he had joined three other men for a heavy drinking session in nearby Comber on the Saturday of the FA Cup final. That had ended with the men driving across the Border in search of suspected IRA road checks on Border roads.

Two of the men were soldiers in the Ulster Defence Regiment as well as being members of the UVF-linked Red Hand Commandos, as was the leader of the group, the man who actually shot Seamus Ludlow.

After searching fruitlessly in Dundalk for a local IRA man, the men saw Seamus Ludlow making his way home from a local pub, offered him a lift and then drove him to the isolated laneway where the Red Hand Commando leader shot him dead with a pistol, after which his body was tossed over a hedgerow.

The Ludlow family leave the Dail after attending a hearing of the joint Oireachtas committee probing the death of Seamus Ludlow

The Ludlow family leave the Dail after attending a hearing of the joint Oireachtas committee probing the death of their brother and uncle

The fact that the Gardai effectively abandoned the inquiry into Ludlow’s death so quickly after the event, and then attempted to shift blame onto the IRA has – along with the RUC’s inactivity – fueled suspicion that an official effort was underway to protect someone in the killers’ car because of their possible link to British security forces.

If so, the favourite candidate would seem to be the Red Hand Commando leader who allegedly pulled the trigger that night. Nicknamed ‘Mambo’, he left Northern Ireland not longer after the Ludlow killing and has been living in England, largely untouched by the authorities, ever since.

The need to protect ‘Mambo’, and the suspicion that he may have been on the books of British intelligence, may explain why the Irish government has been so reluctant to accept the advice of both Judge Barron and the joint Oireachtas committee and set up committees of inquiry to probe the Garda handling of the Ludlow investigation.

Should the suspicions prove to be well-founded the Gardai will be in the dock, accused of covering up the murder of an Irish citizen at the behest of the British authorities to protect a British spy. It can hardly get more serious than that.

Sunday Tribune, March 15th, 1998

By Ed Moloney

The RUC Special Branch has been accused of having covered up, for at least the last eleven years, evidence showing that members of the North’s security forces were part of a Loyalist gang which crossed the Border and killed a Dundalk, Co Louth man, the Sunday Tribune has learned.Seamus Ludlow, a 47 year old forestry worker, was found shot dead in an isolated laneway two miles north of Dundalk in May, 1976 and his killing became one of the unsolved mysteries of the Troubles.

However the story of how the authorities concealed the politically sensitive circumstances of his death has now come to light thanks to the man who gave RUC Special Branch officers a full account of the killing over a decade ago.

Paul Hosking (41), from Newtownards, Co Down started the day of Seamus Ludlow’s death drinking with UDR soldiers who were also members of the Loyalist Red Hand Commandos and ended it witnessing the casual and opportunistic murder of the Dundalk man. He was later threatened with death by the Red Hand Commandos if he spoke to the authorities.

Two weeks ago he and the three former Red Hand Commando members were arrested and questioned about the killing by RUC detectives. One was arrested in England. They were released without being charged but a report on each was sent to the North’s Director of Public Prosecutions who will decide whether to take action against the men.

In interviews with the Sunday Tribune, Hosking both protests his innocence and expresses anger at being arrested after having told the Special Branch everything he saw on the day of the Ludlow murder. He has named the Special Branch officer who met him to discuss the details of the killing to detectives in Castlereagh interrogation centre and made a written statement alleging that he gave the Branch a full account of the part played by the killers.

Hosking’s 1987 statement to the RUC Special Branch technically amounted to an admission that he had withheld evidence during the ten years following the killing yet the Special Branch apparently chose not to take any action against him nor the three men he had named as responsible for the killing.At the end of his encounter with the Special Branch, Hosking asked what happened next. “(The officer) said ‘Forget it. Its political’ “, he recalls.

Paul Hosking, then a 19 year old factory worker, invariably spent Saturdays getting drunk in his local, the First and Last pub in Comber. On Saturday May 1st, 1976 he headed down as usual only to find a virtually empty bar. Most of Comber had headed for Glasgow to watch Rangers play in the Scottish cup final but Hoskings was broke and couldn’t go.

So he found himself alone in the bar with a couple of friends and three men who had started coming to the pub three or months before. One was a Captain in the UDR, another who Hosking was told was also an officer in the regiment and a third man from Bangor whose nickname was ‘Mambo’. Hosking was never clear whether ‘Mambo’ was also a UDR man.

Hosking remembers that the UDR men were armed. “They had a big bulge under the arm”, he remembers. (The Sunday Tribune has been furnished with the men’s names but has decided for legal reasons not to publish them.)

Hosking had got to know the men over the preceding weeks and had occasionally drank with them and discussed life in the UDR. The three were also rumoured to be Loyalists, linked to the Red Hand Commando, an offshoot of the UVF. But in Comber as in other Protestant areas that would not raise an eyebrow; overlapping membership of Loyalist paramilitaries and the UDR was common enough. That Saturday the deserted pub drove them together for company.

The UDR Captain suggested that they move on, to see if there was any action elsewhere. They drove in the second UDR man’s car, a two door yellow Datsun, Hosking in the rear passenger side seat, the UDR Captain beside him and ‘Mambo’ in the front passenger seat. They were to keep that formation for the rest of that fateful day.

They tried a pub in Killyleagh first on the shores of Strangford lough but that too was quiet. Then the UDR Captain had an idea. Hosking recalls: “—- —- mentioned that there were supposed to be IRA checks along the Border. It was information obviously from the UDR that they were doing something on the Border. He said do you fancy going down to spy on them? I said great, it was like an adventure.”

It was the first time Hosking had ever been near or across the Border and he was looking forward to a Southern pint of Guinness. He had no idea where they were driving but remembers they did go through a British Army permanent checkpoint at which the driver showed his UDR pass.

“I remember him laughing and saying it was so good to have a UDR pass”, recalls Hosking. They were waved through, headed for Omeath and made for a pub.

Hosking’s memory is that the four of them spent about an hour in the bar. He sat away from the others watching television highlights of that day’s English FA Cup Final between Southampton and Manchester Utd. The three Red Hand Commandos were on the other side of the bar talking amongst themselves.

Some time after closing time the four left the bar. Hosking was quite drunk by that time. He reckons he had consumed about 13 or 14 pints over the whole day. “That used to be my Saturday thing”, he said.

Instead of heading North, the UDR driver steered his vehicle southwards towards Dundalk and the fateful encounter with Seamus Ludlow.

Now married with two children and living in Newtownards not far from his native Comber, Hosking takes up the story: “I saw a sign saying Dundalk, that’s how I knew we’d been there. I remember this guy walking along, he was thumbing actually.We stopped and your man got in. He was drunk. He got in between us in the back. I remember giving him a hand in.”

Seamus Ludlow had spent the evening drinking at various bars. He had just left the Lisdoo Arms and was looking for a lift to his home at Thistlecross about two miles northwards.

“The next thing I can remember”, Hosking continues, “he wasn’t long in the car really, I remember the house and the road in that direction and I remember the guy saying I live over here. I don’t know who it was said he needed to use the toilet. I was bursting anyway, the pints were going through me.

“We went on down anyway and I remember him reversing up a wee lane. ‘Mambo’ got out and pulled the seat back and I got out, I went over to the hedge near the front of the car. I was standing having a pee and the next I heard was banging. I swung round and there was this guy ‘Mambo’ sort of half in the car and he was shooting in the car.

“All I remember then is your man ‘Mambo’ pulling him out and —- was pushing him out. The guy fell on the floor so they got out and picked him up and threw him on to a hedge, I think it was. Then your man shouted get in. I was standing there shocked, I was horrified. My first thought was that they were going to do the same to me because I had seen what they had done. I was horrified. I got in the back and the whole way back I just stared out of the window.”

The inquest was told that his body was found the next day by tourists from the North in a lonely lane about a mile from Seamus Ludlow’s home. It was lying on a hedge. He’d been shot with three bullets all fired at close range and from his front, left. The fatal wound was to his heart. The State Pathologist John Harbinson speculated that Seamus Ludlow had been shot elsehere because his shoes were remarkably clean for being in a muddy lane.

By all accounts Seamus Ludlow was a shy, inoffensive man. At 47 he was a confirmed bachelor who, like so many other Irish family situations, lived with his eighty year old mother. If his death was to be covered up by the authorities he was in many ways an ideal candidate. He had no wife or children to grieve him or cause a fuss and he was poor. He chopped wood in the Ravensdale forest for a living.

Seamus Ludlow’s family have however campaigned for the truth about his death but to no avail. Appeals to the Gardai to re-open the case have fallen on deaf ears while theories have abounded, including one that SAS men were responsible. Despite Garda claims to the contrary the IRA denied any responsibility very shortly after the killing.

The Gardai have told the family not to speak to the press about recent developments and the Ludlow family have, duly, declined to make any comment saying this is the advice they have been given. However the dead man’s brother, Kevin added: “The family will be watching events with great interest”.

After the killing, the yellow Datsun sped nortwards dropping Hosking and the UDR Captain off at Killyleagh. The UDR Captain then drove Hosking home to Comber. Hosking remembers a veiled threat from ‘Mambo’ on the drive home, a remark that if he could get away with it he could kill a Protestant too.

Two days later the UDR Captain approached Hosking and warned him that unless he joined the Red Hand Commandos he would be killed because of what he had seen. He said that he had consulted the Red Hand commander, the late John McKeague about him. By now thoroughly frightened Hosking asked the UDA to intervene. Like hundreds of his contemporaries he had been a low level member of the UDA in Comber and set up barricades there during the 1974 UWC strike. That was the last he heard of the Ludlow murder until eleven years later.

He never went to the police, he says, because he was “petrified”. “If they could do that they were capable of wiping me out or my family”. Two years after the killing he went to Scotland and got married. But the marriage broke up and in 1986 he returned to Comber. He was at a family funeral when an RUC relative told him that the Special Branch wanted to see him about “something serious”.

He agreed to meet the RUC and a pub in Newtownards was chosen as the venue with his RUC relative as a witness. Hosking recalls that the Special Branch man, whose name is known to the Sunday Tribune, “seemed to know all the story”. He thinks the meeting took place in January or February 1987.

He went on:”That’s where I met the Special Branch man, he introduced himself. ——- went away to the bar to get a drink and your man said that he knew I had been there, he knew I hadn’t been involved but he wanted to know my story. I said OK and I told him the story from start to finish. At the end I said what happens now and he said ‘Forget it, its political’.

“I was relieved it had come out but sort of disillusioned that that was it, after all those years just to let it go”.

Three weeks ago Hosking came off the night shift to find scores of policemen at his home. He was arrested and held for four days. He says his first remarks to the CID were: “Why are you coming to me now? I told the Special Branch this…and you’re looking for me now”. He says he told the CID the full story of the day Seamus Ludlow was killed.

A range of questions arise from this affair, not least about why the RUC Special Branch chose to sit on Hosking’s evidence. One possible reason is that the police were acting to protect an informer amongst the three Red Hand Commandos who killed Seamus Ludlow.

If that was the case then once again the focus will be on the issue of Special Branch morality, specifically whether the authorities in the North turn a blind eye to intelligence agents being involved in serious crimes including murder. If there was an informer amongst the gang then it is also possible that the cover-up was longer than eleven years and that the RUC knew all about the murder just after it was committed, twenty two years ago. And just who was the informer? Could it have been the trigger man?

Hosking also spoke to the RUC Special Branch at a politically sensitive time. In early 1987 the Anglo-Irish Agreement was not long in existence but it had helped put the future of the UDR on the political agenda. A revelation at that time that a Loyalist paramilitary cell had been able to inflitrate the UDR to a high level – the leader of the gang was a full time Captain in the force – and had committed murder in the Republic would have given critics of the regiment valuable ammunition.

There also serious questions about how much the Gardai knew. Did the RUC fail to tell their counterparts in the Republic what they knew of a murder carried out in the Gardai’s jurisdiction or were they given all the available information? For the past twenty-two years the Gardai have told the Ludlow family that their brother and uncle was killed by the Provisional IRA, an assertion that now turns out to be as far from the truth as it is possible to be.

The two police forces were saying little about the affair this weekend, only that the investigation was still ongoing and that there had been the usual liaison between them.

Two other questions from the Ludlow murder demand answering above others. Paul Hosking looks like he could face a charge of witholding information about the murder. If the authorities deem him culpable enough to face such a charge where does this leave the RUC Special Branch?

And the other is this: just when will the Ludlow family be told the full truth about Seamus Ludlow’s death and the subsequent cover-up?