Cardiologist to give evidence on health of key witness

Fri, Oct 5, 2012, 01:00

The Smithwick Tribunal will next week hear evidence from Mater hospital cardiologist Dr Niamh Murphy, as to the health of one of its key witnesses, former detective sergeant Owen Corrigan.

Mr Corrigan is one of three sergeants formerly in Dundalk Garda station who have been granted legal representation at the tribunal.

The others are retired sergeant Finbarr Hickey and retired sergeant Leo Colton.

The tribunal is inquiring into suggestions that a member or members of An Garda or other State employees colluded with the IRA in the 1989 murders of RUC officers Chief Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan. The officers were killed within minutes of leaving a meeting in Dundalk Garda station.

Mr Corrigan’s evidence to the tribunal had been restricted to two hours a day, on medical grounds. It was later postponed as he was admitted to hospital.

Tribunal chairman Judge Peter Smithwick said he was anxious to complete evidence from Mr Corrigan and would be taking the unusual step of sitting at 9am next Wednesday. While the hour was not one usually suited to members of the law library, Judge Smithwick said Dr Murphy was “a very busy cardiologist and the hour of 9am was agreed to facilitate her”.

Earlier, retired Border superintendent Tom Butler said he believed Garda headquarters was aware of rumours that Mr Corrigan was inappropriately associating with subversives, from as early as the mid-1980s.

He had served for four years in Harcourt Square as part of the Garda Bureau of Criminal Investigation. He “presumed” that if he was hearing these rumours, they were known to more senior gardaí in Garda headquarters.