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IRA mole saved lives, tribunal told

Peter Keeley, the British agent also known as Kevin Fulton (right), provided intelligence to the RUC Special Branch which saved lives, a retired RUC detective inspector has told the Smithwick tribunal.

The senior officer, identified only as Witness 60, said he investigated both terrorist and “ordinary” crime, and that he had a different function from Special Branch, which collected intelligence. The witness said: “He (Keeley) did provide some good intelligence, not only on terrorist crimes but also on ordinary crime.”

He said that Keeley was useful initially in relation to IRA activities, but his services were later dispensed with after he became “an intelligence nuisance”.

The tribunal heard that when Special Branch was finished with him he was picked up by the CID (Criminal Investigation Department) in 1996 and he acted as an agent for them for several years after that.

The witness said that he was never told that there was any Garda officer in Dundalk he should be wary of, and agreed with counsel for the Garda commissioner that RUC Special Branch would share intelligence with him.

The witness said he never encountered another man known as Patrick ‘Mooch’ Blair, but added: “I believe he was a suspect for some terrorist offences around Newry at that time, but I'm not exactly sure which ones.” Witness 60 worked as a detective inspector in Gough Barracks until 1994.

The Smithwick tribunal was set up to look into allegations of Garda collusion in the murder of two senior RUC officers, Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan

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The two RUC officers were gunned down by an IRA team as they returned to Northern Ireland from a meeting held in Dundalk Garda station on 20 March 1989.

The witness said that the border area “was a dangerous place to work”.

But he added: “It was no more dangerous going across the border than it was going to Newry.

“You were always apprehensive, you were careful, but it|didn't preclude you doing your job,” he added.

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