Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Ex-officer 'hurt' by IRA link claim

The Smithwick Tribunal is investigating allegations of Garda collusion over the IRA murders of senior RUC officers Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan

A former senior Garda accused of leaking information to the IRA that led to the killing of two high-ranking RUC officers insisted he spent every day of his life fighting against subversives.

As the Smithwick Inquiry had its final sitting before summer recess, Owen Corrigan said he was deeply insulted by allegations he colluded with the terror group.

He maintained he was not an IRA sympathiser, despite claims in an RUC report dated 1985 that he was.

"I think it's the greatest insult to my integrity," said Mr Corrigan, a former detective sergeant in Dundalk.

Under cross-examination by his solicitor Jim O'Callaghan, Mr Corrigan said he was hurt by many of the allegations that emerged during the tribunal.

"I found a lot of comments including comments in relation to several matters that were raised very hurtful," he said.

"Including allegations that I was malingering and that I was guilty of deception, which I find deeply offensive."

Mr Corrigan took to the witness box for the 15th time during the tribunal - a probe into allegations of collusion between gardai and the paramilitary group's ambush of Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan.

The high-ranking officers were returning from a meeting on March 20, 1989 with gardai in Dundalk when they were ambushed and shot dead just north of the border in Co Armagh. The Provisional IRA claimed responsibility for the murders.

As Judge Peter Smithwick adjourned the tribunal until the end of August, Mr O'Callaghan said he had not finished cross-examining his client, who is expected to return to the witness box.

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