Judge unhappy IRA will not give oral evidence on RUC murders to tribunal
Judge Peter Smithwick has expressed his disappointment that former Provisional IRA members will not give oral evidence at a hearing of the tribunal investigating allegations of collusion in the murder of two RUC officers in 1989.
The tribunal has engaged with former IRA members since early 2011 in an effort to secure evidence as to how Chief Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan were shot dead.
Judge Smithwick informed the Oireachtas yesterday that IRA members had made a statement last Friday and would not engage further with the tribunal.
He has directed that the written record of the tribunal’s dealings with these witnesses, including their written account of the events leading up to and on March 20th, 1989, and their responses to written and oral questions posed by the tribunal’s legal team, be read into the record at a public hearing today.
“While I am grateful to the former members for providing the tribunal with their version of events, and in particular for meeting with the tribunal’s legal team in April 2011, I am very disappointed that oral evidence will not be given,” Judge Smithwick said. He added that “extensive safeguards” had been proposed to protect the identity and security of the former IRA members. A meeting scheduled for late last year was cancelled at their request.
The tribunal, set up seven years ago, is expected to present its final report in July.