Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Garda contribution along border invaluable

THE conclusion of the Smithwick Tribunal – that Garda officers colluded in the murder of Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan – is deeply disturbing.

If it is true that one, or more, gardai colluded with the IRA, then not only are they guilty of murder, but they let down an entire force.

Unfortunately, there are now unionist politicians who remained silent over, or, indeed, excused, compelling evidence of collusion in the north, but are delighted to rush to the media to smear the entire Garda Siochana.

Garda officers – many now retired – were stationed in border areas to protect life and limb.

Is history now to be rewritten, as it often is, to misrepresent those officers as villains involved in collusion leading to the murder of police officers in the north? I should think not.

From the 1970s to the 1990s, the Republic of Ireland, with limited resources, spent more per head of population on security than the British did – much of it in border areas.

Like police forces all over the world, the Garda have had their problems, but they do not deserve the kind of abuse which is emanating from the usual suspects who ignored, dismissed, or excused widespread collusion in the north, but now want to present themselves as the voice of perfection.

They ignore the fact that Garda officers made a massive contribution in those days of total madness.

JOHN DALLAT (SDLP)

MLA for East Londonderry

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