Ex-garda 'betrayed force's oath'
A former Garda detective sergeant was this morning accused of betraying his solemn oath to protect lives and property and to bring criminals to justice.
Owen Corrigan was also accused of betraying RUC officers Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan who were murdered in an IRA ambush minutes after leaving a meeting in Dundalk Garda station in March 1989.
Mark Robinson, counsel for the PSNI, told the Smithwick Tribunal that because Mr Corrigan had acknowledged he failed to pass on information regarding the murders of the two men, he had betrayed his oath and had betrayed the two men.
Mr Robinson told tribunal chairman Judge Peter Smithwick it was Mr Corrigan’s own evidence that having once been the “jewel in the crown” of the Garda anti-terrorism fight, he had become disaffected with a new regime in Dundalk Garda station in the mid 1980s.
Mr Robinson recalled Mr Corrigan said he had been “sidelined” by the new regime. After this Mr Corrigan had “relinquished all role and responsibilities”.
Mr Corrigan said he took “grave exception” to the allegations of betrayal. But in relation to his detective activity he said “perhaps I did not do as much as I did previously”.
Mr Corrigan said after the killings he had become aware the officers had previously been followed to the Republic, and followed into a Garda station by a leading member of the Provisional IRA. He accepted he failed to pass this information to the investigating team following the murders.
Mr Robinson said this was significant evidence that could have been cross-referenced by the investigating team and helped lead to bringing those involved to justice. Mr Corrigan said “I didn’t present it. I had no particular reason.”
Reading from the oath that requires each new garda to protect life and property and do their best to bring criminals to justice, Mr Robinson said: "You grossly betrayed your oath, isn't that correct." He also said Mr Corrigan "betrayed" his police colleagues, Breen and Buchanan.
Mr Corrigan said he rejected the allegation and that “nobody did more in Dundalk” in the fight against the IRA.