The second inquest into the murder of a 47-year-old forestry worker by a loyalist gang has opened in Dundalk.        

Seamus Ludlow had been out for a few drinks on the night of 2 May 1976. He was on his way to his home when he was picked up by four members of the loyalist Red Hand Commando and shot several times. His body was dumped in a lane near his home.

His family have always claimed that members of the Ulster Defence Regiment were involved in the murder, and the gardaí were party to a subsequent cover-up.

At the inquest today, the Coroner, Ronan McGuire, told the jury of six men and four women that they could look at some of the circumstances surrounding the murder but could not apportion blame.

One of the first to give evidence was Professor John Harbison, the former State Pathologist. He gave details of examining the body at the scene and later conducting a post mortem.

He revealed that Mr Ludlow had been shot three times, at least once from very close range. He said death was due to shock and haemorrhage.

The Garda Commissioner and the Ludlow family both have senior counsel representing them at the inquest.