DUP MP refuses to withdraw IRA claim
DEMOCRATIC UNIONIST MP Jeffrey Donaldson has refused to withdraw allegations that a member of Dundalk gardaí colluded with the IRA in the murder of two RUC officers in 1989.
Mr Donaldson told the Smithwick Tribunal yesterday that he had named now retired Det Sgt Owen Corrigan in the House of Commons in 2000 to bring the issue of Garda collusion into the public domain, and have it investigated by an independent tribunal.
He said the House of Commons and the tribunal were the appropriate places to make the allegations and he declined an offer from Jim O’Callaghan, SC for Mr Corrigan, to repeat the allegations “outside the building”.
Asked by Mr O’Callaghan if he was prepared to apologise to Mr Corrigan if the tribunal found him innocent, Mr Donaldson said he would “have to accept the findings” and would “consider all of these things at that time”.
Mr O’Callaghan put it to Mr Donaldson that he only had the word of a double agent, Kevin Fulton, also known as Peter Keeley, that Mr Corrigan had colluded with the IRA.
Mr O’Callaghan said Mr Fulton had been described by various witnesses as a “fantasist”, a “Walter Mitty” and an “intelligence nuisance”. He also put it to Mr Donaldson that in 60 days of tribunal hearings the only evidence of collusion between Mr Corrigan and the IRA had related to an alleged meeting in a car park described by Mr Fulton.
However, Mr O’Callaghan said the timing for the meeting could only have happened after Mr Corrigan had retired from the force, initially on sick leave. Therefore this allegation of collusion was “impossible”.
Mr Donaldson responded that Mr Corrigan could have been supplying information to the IRA after he left the Garda about things he learned while an active member of the force.
Mr Donaldson also said that while Mr Fulton had been the only source to name Mr Corrigan, “many people in political circles” had discussed the possibility of a mole in Dundalk Garda station, as had the book Bandit Country by journalist Toby Harnden.
He said he had consulted a senior member of the security services on whether Mr Fulton “was who he said he was” in relation to being a British agent in the IRA and this had been confirmed.