Belfast Telegraph

RUC officer ‘warned to be discreet’ with gardai

By Gerard Cunningham

Senior police officers on both sides of the border warned an RUC inspector to be careful what he said when he was visiting Dundalk Garda station, the Smithwick Tribunal in Dublin has heard.

The witness, who was an RUC chief inspector in Newry in 1989, gave evidence from behind a screen to protect his identity and was identified only as ‘Witness 33’. The former RUC officer said he was told to “be careful who I talked to” in the station by Garda inspector Dan Prenty.

Another officer, ‘Witness 27’, a divisional commander, also told him to be careful what he said, and named Detective Sergeant Owen Corrigan.

The witness added: “He just said to be careful what you talk to him about. He didn't elaborate.”

In evidence, Witness 27 did not express any concerns about Mr Corrigan, tribunal barrister Fintan Valentine said.

And Jim O'Callaghan, on behalf of Mr Corrigan, said Witness 27 had told the tribunal he trusted Mr Corrigan with his life.

“He didn't specify he was any kind of threat or problem, just be careful what you say,” the witness said. “You could take all sorts of things out of that.”

The tribunal is looking at claims a Garda ‘mole’ leaked information to the IRA, leading to the murders of two RUC officers, Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan, as they returned from a meeting in Dundalk Garda station in March 1989.

The tribunal resumes on September 26.

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