Man who warned of Garda IRA mole named

Sat, May 12, 2012, 01:00

SMITHWICK:A REPUBLICAN source who warned the RUC that former det sgt Owen Corrigan of Dundalk Garda station was an IRA mole, was later abducted, tortured and killed by the IRA, the Smithwick Tribunal has been told.

Giving evidence by video link from Belfast yesterday a former detective in Newry RUC, who was identified only as Witness Z, said the man who named former sgt Owen Corrigan was John McAnulty, a Warrenpoint-based smuggler.

Witness Z said that he had received the warning from McAnulty in 1985 and had compiled an intelligence report known as an SB50 and sent it to his superiors in Belfast.

He said Mr Corrigan was known among Newry RUC as someone who should not be trusted when sharing sensitive information.

He said McAnulty was not a member of the IRA but knew members of the organisation through his smuggling and transport businesses, which had made him a wealthy man.

McAnulty was abducted from a public house south of the Border in July 1989 and his body was found shortly afterwards. The IRA subsequently claimed McAnulty had been an informer for a number of years.

Witness Z told the tribunal he had decided to give evidence after being told by solicitor John McBurney that Mr Corrigan was missing from duty in Dundalk the night that McAnulty was abducted.

He agreed to give his evidence with his back to the camera to avoid being identified.

Mr McBurney represents the family of RUC Chief Supt Harry Breen who, along with Supt Bob Buchanan, was killed in an IRA ambush while returning to Armagh after a meeting in Dundalk Garda station, in March 1989.

The tribunal is examining suggestions that members of An Garda Síochána colluded with the IRA in the killing of the two officers.

Witness Z told Michael Durack, senior counsel for the Garda, that he was not aware of any other information that would support the claim that Mr Corrigan was an IRA mole.

He also told Jim O’Callaghan, senior counsel for Mr Corrigan, that there was no evidence to link Mr Corrigan to the murders of two RUC officers.

But he told the tribunal he was present in Dundalk Garda station on at least one occasion at a meeting with Insp Dan Prenty when Mr Corrigan walked into the room.

He said Mr Prenty immediately signalled him to stop talking.

The naming of McAnulty by Witness Z led to heated exchanges at the tribuna,l with counsel for the PSNI Mark Robinson asking on a number of occasions for a recess, and claiming the naming of John McAnulty “beggars belief”.

Mr Robinson said it put the lives of others at risk, and could “seriously damage the flow of information” from existing sources.

Mr Robinson told the tribunal it was “outrageous” that a source, even one who was now dead, could be named and he accused the tribunal of maintaining “radio silence” when he had attempted to find out what was scheduled to happen this morning.

He said this was symptomatic of the tribunal’s attitude to the PSNI since public hearings began last June.

In what was an unusually tense exchange Mr Robinson was told by the chairman of the tribunal, Judge Peter Smithwick, that “I think that, really, there must be a limit to the extent to which the PSNI can cover up everything and put serious matters under the carpet.”