Belfast Telegraph

Smithwick Tribunal assurances given

The Smithwick Tribunal into suspected Garda-IRA collusion in the murder of two senior RUC officers will not be curtailed, Peter Robinson has said.

He said he had an assurance from Dublin Justice Minister Alan Shatter that the activities of the inquiry would not be guillotined.

RUC officers Ch Supt Harry Breen and Supt Robert Buchanan were two of the most senior policemen killed.

They were gunned down returning from a meeting with a top Garda officer in Dundalk, Co Louth, just north of the border in Co Armagh in March 1989.

First Minister Mr Robinson met Mr Shatter and said: "We talked about the issue and he has given me an assurance that there was no curtailment of the activities of the inquiry."

The tribunal, established in 2005, is examining allegations that gardai or a civilian working in the force colluded with the IRA in the killing of the two RUC officers in the border ambush.

Mr Shatter had called for a six-month limit on the tribunal and claimed inquiry head Judge Peter Smithwick assured him the fast-track investigation was possible.

He said it was not in the public interest, or in the interest of the families bereaved, that an inquiry should continue indefinitely.

His comments were met with criticism from unionists, who want the tribunal's work to be completed free from outside pressure.

Mr Robinson said he was told by Mr Shatter that the dates for the inquiry had been set with the views of those associated with the inquiry taken into account.

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