Tribunal hears of Belfast 'posting'
A former detective sergeant based in Dundalk Garda station claimed today he was sent to the Falls Road in Belfast in 1969, as an observer of the worsening sectarian situation there.
Former Det Sgt Owen Corrigan told the tribunal the posting had been “at the request of the Government" and he had volunteered for the role. He said "a couple" of members of An Garda had been sent to Belfast in such roles.
However it was put to Mr Corrigan by Neil Rafferty counsel for British agent Peter Keeley, that he had volunteered in another capacity: "The only volunteer that you were was a volunteer to help the IRA." he said.
Mr Rafferty put it Mr Corrigan that he had passed information to the IRA on a number of occasions, assisting the organisation to target chief supt Harry Breen and supt Bob Buchanan for murder by the IRA.
Mr Rafferty instanced a number of murders in the Border region from the mid 1980s including the killings of Lord Justice Gibson and his wife; the Hanna family; four RUC officers guarding a cash delivery van and the murders of Mr Breen and Mr Buchanan. He said these all happened when the people involved were travelling from South to North across the Border near Dundalk. He also mentioned the killing by the IRA of Cooley farmer Tom Oliver who was said to be passing information to the Garda about the IRA activities.
Mr Rafferty said the killings "all stopped" when Mr Corrigan retired. He said Mr Corrigan had described allegations that he was involved in the deaths of the two RUC officers as "a monstrous lie" when in fact it was a "monstrous truth" .
He suggested the former detective had become disillusioned and despondent after the British security services and the RUC put pressure on the Irish Government to intervene in the running of Dundalk Garda station, following the Anglo Irish agreement of 1985.
Mr Rafferty asked Mr Corrigan how he felt "about the Brits coming in…. and shouting the odds" about the detectives in Dundalk.
Mr Corrigan said the allegation he passed information to the IRA was “a dreadful allegation to make”. He said the RUC and the British army had not been able to maintain law and order in Northern Ireland with the aid of 60,000 troops. He said the British were "trying to impose a military solution" where they "ruled by might". He said the Garda "ruled with the consent of the people".
He added that he "started my career in the Falls Road" as "an observer" and had worked “tirelessly to bring peace to our country at great expense to myself”.
He accused Mr Rafferty of taking his character on the word of Mr Keeley who he described as "paid agent" of the British army.