Belfast Telegraph

Former officer denies IRA rumours

A former Garda officer alleged to have been suspicious that three of his colleagues colluded with the IRA has claimed he cannot recall rumours that they were linked to subversives.

Fresh intelligence that emerged last week during the Smithwick Inquiry claimed retired Detective Sergeant Jim Lane had expressed concerns former gardai Owen Corrigan, Finbarr Hickey and Leo Colton had an "unethical relationship" with the paramilitary group.

But Mr Lane told the tribunal that he could not remember any such rumours and that the only things he ever discussed with other associates were different work-related incidents the men were involved in.

"I can only say that the only conversation I had in relation to Owen Corrigan, Finbarr Hickey and Leo Colton was that we would have discussed the incidents that they were involved in," said Mr Lane.

"They were colleagues. It would have been natural to discuss daily incidents. I can't remember any specific conversations I had about them but it would have been natural."

The Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI) produced never-before-seen evidence last Wednesday, as the probe into the IRA killing of Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan in Dundalk in 1989 enters its final stages.

The five documents included claims Mr Lane had told other colleagues he was worried the three men were sharing information with the IRA.

After the new material emerged last Wednesday, the Buchanan family called for a new cross-border investigation into the murders.

They claimed the new evidence included in the five documents pointed to collusion between members of the gardai and the IRA.

They also criticised the PSNI for withholding the information, which is understood to have come to light in the last eight years.

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