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Garda mole gave police secrets to IRA, claims Witness Q

A former RUC special branch detective has told the Smithwick Tribunal about a report stating that a mole in the garda was passing information to the IRA.

The witness, identified as ‘Q’, gave evidence from Belfast via video-link to the tribunal, which is examining allegations of garda collusion in the 1989 deaths of two RUC officers, Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan (below).

The witness said that in 1985 he met a source along with another officer, Witness Z, who previously gave evidence to the inquiry.

The information, that former Dundalk Detective Sergeant Owen Corrigan was passing intelligence to the IRA, was rated as “of medium value and believable,” he said.

Mr Corrigan has denied allegations of collusion, describing them as a “monstrous lie”.

Witness Z previously identified the source as John McNulty, a businessman who was kidnapped and killed by the IRA in 1989.

Witness Q said Mr McNulty did not give the impression of being an IRA supporter, and “gave the impression throughout the time I knew him of being anti-violence”.

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Mr McNulty was not paid for the information he provided, except for reimbursing travel expenses, Witness Q said.

He said Mr McNulty was, “a very sociable type of man”.

And he said his source had contacts who were both high and low-ranking within the IRA.

The witness also said he was told by an RUC detective inspector in Newry, “not to be talking about anything sensitive in front of Mr Corrigan”.

The witness agreed that following a May 1985 bomb attack in which four RUC officers were killed while escorting a Brinks Mat security van, there was concern in the force over how the IRA got its information about the movements of the van.

Barrister Jim O'Callaghan SC, who represents Mr Corrigan, said his client would give evidence that he generated confidential garda reports about Mr McNulty's 1989 kidnapping which were passed on to the RUC.

Mr Corrigan is expected to give evidence to the inquiry in early June. It has been given a new deadline of October 31 to wrap up proceedings.


Four young RUC officers were killed when the IRA set off a remote controlled bomb hidden in a parked trailer. The device detonated as an RUC mobile patrol passed it at Killeen, Co Armagh. The officers who died were William Wilson (28), Stephen Rodgers (19), David Baird (22) and Tracy Doak (21).

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