'Shameful lie' behind collusion claims, ex-garda tells tribunal
A “SHAMEFUL, monstrous and terrible lie” is behind suggestions that members of the Garda colluded with the IRA in the murder of two RUC officers, the Smithwick Tribunal has been told.
Former Dundalk detective sergeant Owen Corrigan, who is one of three former Dundalk sergeants represented at the tribunal, said the allegation that he might have tipped off the IRA in relation to the RUC men’s whereabouts, was “deeply offensive”.
Chief Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan were killed in an IRA ambush just north of the Border on March 20th, 1989. The officers were returning from a meeting in Dundalk Garda station where they had been arranging a crackdown on cross-Border smuggling by known republicans.
Giving evidence to the tribunal yesterday, Mr Corrigan said he had given 36 years of loyal service to the State between the FCA, An Post and the Garda. He said that Dundalk in the early 1980s was like “El Paso”, and subversives resident there and focused on the Border numbered more than 300.
He said he welcomed the setting up of the tribunal which was an opportunity to clear his name. He said allegations that he had been an IRA informer had been made by Jeffrey Donaldson MP under parliamentary privilege in the House of Commons.
Justin Dillon SC, for the tribunal, said there were a number of allegations against Mr Corrigan. The first aspect of these, dating from 1985, related to RUC intelligence information which named Mr Corrigan as a man who passed information to the IRA.
Mr Dillon also said the tribunal had been told one of the murdered RUC officers, Mr Breen, had expressed concern about going to Dundalk and specifically about Mr Corrigan; that Mr Donaldson had mentioned him by name; and that a former British army undercover agent in the IRA, Kevin Fulton, had named him as someone who passed information to the IRA.
Mr Corrigan responded that Mr Fulton had been described as a “compulsive liar, a fantasist and an intelligence nuisance” by a chief constable of the RUC. He rejected “each and every allegation”.
Mr Corrigan told the tribunal he had come to tell the truth.