Belfast Telegraph

Friday 24 October 2014

Garda chief gives inquiry statement

Judge Smithwick has not received a report on the medical condition of key witness Owen Corrigan

A senior garda officer has made a 51-page statement to the Smithwick tribunal on the back of intelligence reports about alleged Garda-IRA collusion given to the inquiry.

Detective Chief Superintendent Peter Kirwan emailed the document to the tribunal after being called to give his opinions on evidence from the Police Service of Northern Ireland and IRA members.

The tribunal adjourned for one week to allow parties involved to analyse the new statement.

Judge Peter Smithwick is investigating whether gardai based in the border area colluded with Provisional IRA units in the region in the 1989 murders of RUC Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan - two of the most senior officers to die in the Troubles.

They were assassinated in an ambush after leaving a meeting in Dundalk Garda station.

Det Chief Supt Kirwan was asked to respond to allegations in PSNI intelligence reports that an IRA figure revealed that several officers in the Dundalk area were colluding with the terrorist group.

The intelligence report, some of which was censored before being read into the record at the tribunal last year, said that the IRA "traditionally obtained good intelligence from Dundalk Garda station".

Meanwhile it emerged that Judge Smithwick has not received a report on the medical condition of key witness Owen Corrigan, a former sergeant based in Dundalk.

He underwent triple heart bypass surgery last September but complications meant he has been unable to return to be cross-examined at the public hearings.

Mr Corrigan, who denies any involvement in collusion, has also failed to attend an appointment with a consultant heart specialist arranged by the tribunal.

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