Belfast Telegraph

Smithwick Tribunal report from probe into alleged collusion out today


The report from an eight-year public inquiry into allegations of IRA/Garda collusion is finally expected to be published.

The release of the report later today will mark the end of the Smithwick Tribunal, which was established by the Irish Government in 2005.

Over its duration the inquiry has heard from almost 200 witnesses in 122 days, including former Garda Commissioners, senior RUC officers, soldiers, double agent Kevin Fulton, and DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson, as well as testimony from the IRA.

Judge Peter Smithwick and his team have been probing 24-year-old rumours that the Garda colluded with the IRA in the murder of the most senior RUC officers to be killed during the Troubles.

Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan were killed on March 20, 1989 in an IRA ambush in south Armagh, just minutes after leaving a meeting at Dundalk Garda station.

Rumours of an IRA mole in Dundalk Garda station emerged from the time of the ambush to explain how the murder gang knew the senior officers' movements that day.

The meeting at Dundalk Garda station had been arranged that morning, yet the tribunal heard the IRA had up to 70 of its members covering the three main border crossings – despite the high Army presence – by early afternoon.

The families of the two officers are expected to be shown the final report just before publication.

The report is rumoured to be 1,100 pages long, and contain recommendations on how the Garda and PSNI should co-operate going forward, as well as finding whether or not there was collusion between the Garda and IRA.

The setting up of the Smithwick Tribunal was prompted by Canadian judge Peter Cory, who investigated the killing of the two RUC officers.

In his report, published in October 2003, Judge Cory stated it could be said that the IRA did not need information from the Garda to carry out the ambush and that intelligence reports received in the aftermath had also pointed to this conclusion.

Judge Cory referred to two other intelligence reports mentioning a Garda leak and a statement from the British intelligence agent known as Kevin Fulton, who claimed an IRA man told him the IRA was told about the presence of the RUC men in Dundalk by a member of the Garda.

Judge Smithwick handed his report into the Irish Parliament on Friday afternoon.

Belfast Telegraph


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