Families of victims killed near Border call for Garda-PSNI inquiry

Calls relate to cases where information of use to killers was available to Dundalk gardaí

Chief Supt Harry Breen, who was shot dead, along with Supt Bob Buchanan, on March 20th, 1989. Photograph: McCartan Turkington Breen/PA Wire

Chief Supt Harry Breen, who was shot dead, along with Supt Bob Buchanan, on March 20th, 1989. Photograph: McCartan Turkington Breen/PA Wire

Mon, Dec 9, 2013, 01:00


Relatives of those killed in IRA attacks in the Dundalk Border area are calling for a joint Garda-PSNI inquiry following the Smithwick Tribunal report.

The calls relate to a range of cases where information which may have been of assistance to the killers was available to gardaí in Dundalk.

The calls follow last week’s finding by the tribunal that, on the balance of probability, the IRA was given a tip-off from someone inside Dundalk Garda station which assisted in the killings of RUC officers Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan in March 1989.

The cases include the bombing of a Brinks Mat security van in 1985, moments after the RUC had taken over escort duty from gardaí as the van crossed the Border. Four RUC officers, William Wilson (28), Stephen Rodgers (19), David Baird (22) and Tracy Doak (21), were killed.

Mistaken identity

Also included is the killing of Appeal Court

judge Maurice Gibson and his wife Cecily who had just crossed the Border in April 1987.

In July 1988, the IRA killed Robert and Maureen Hanna and their son David as they returned from Disneyland, via Dundalk. The IRA said it was a case of mistaken identity, The intended victim was Northern judge Eoin Higgins.

Cooley peninsula farmer Tom Oliver was also murdered by the IRA after claims Mr Oliver had been passing information to gardaí in Dundalk about IRA activities.

Contractor Terence McKeever, who travelled between Dublin and Belfast to work in RUC stations, was killed by the IRA in June, 1986, in Cullyhanna, south Armagh.

Speaking to The Irish Times, solicitor John McBurney, who represented the family of Harry Breen, and now represents the Hanna family, said there was evidence gardaí in Dundalk were told in advance of the movements of at least some of the victims.

Memo from gardaí

He said the Smithwick Tribunal had sight of a memo from

gardaí in Drogheda providing details of the car in which Lord Justice Gibson and his wife Cecily were travelling.

Mr McBurney said the two older Hanna children “who were orphaned by the killing of their parents and brother” now wanted to know if details of the movements of Judge Higgins had also been supplied to Dundalk gardaí.

He said the families of other victims would also want to know if a tip-off played a part in their murders.

“These were killings which happened in the North and in the new spirit of co-operation between gardaí and the PSNI, we would like to see a joint inquiry or review of these cases,” said Mr McBurney.

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