Belfast Telegraph

IRA collusion report 'ignored'

A top Irish police officer who became head of the force ignored allegations a sergeant was colluding with the IRA, a major corruption inquiry has heard.

The late Eugene Crowley was told in 1987 that a Garda officer stationed near the border was "unnecessarily assisting" the terror group but appeared disinterested, a retired chief superintendent has claimed.

The Smithwick Tribunal also heard claims Mr Crowley had been warned of death threats against an RUC officer up to a year before he was killed in an IRA ambush.

Superintendent Bob Buchanan was murdered with colleague Chief Superintendent Harry Breen near the Irish border after a meeting at Dundalk Garda Station in March 1989. The tribunal is investigating allegations of IRA/Garda collusion.

Retired Garda Chief Superintendent Tom Curran said he wrote to Mr Crowley, the then Assistant Commissioner in charge of crime and security, in Garda Headquarters in Dublin about a threat against Mr Buchanan's life between March and October 1988.

"At one stage in my service in Monaghan when, during Bob Buchanan's time there, I was speaking to a man who I believed was a member of the IRA and he told me that Bob Buchanan was going to be shot," said Mr Curran.

"The words he used was 'there's a fella crossing the border there to see you and he is going to be shot'.

"You're never sure about the validity of stories like that from informers but it was a serious matter as far as I was concerned so I wrote direct to crime and security giving that information."

Mr Curran said while Mr Crowley was the assistant commissioner when the allegations were made, he thought a Michael Diffley handled security reports.

The tribunal heard the document noting the threat has never been located, while Mr Diffley has said any report would have been acted on.

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