Claims of 'malice' after ex-garda casts doubt on Robinson rescue

 

A FORMER Garda inspector has been told his evidence to the Smithwick Tribunal displays “astonishing levels of malice” and even “hatred” towards a former Dundalk colleague.

Former inspector Dan Prenty yesterday cast doubt on claims that former detective sergeant Owen Corrigan rescued Peter and Iris Robinson when their car got stuck in a snow storm in Drogheda in 1987.

Earlier this week Mr Corrigan told the tribunal he was in charge of the escort protecting the Robinsons who were travelling to Dublin to answer charges arising out of an incident at Clontibret, Co Monaghan, the previous year.

According to Mr Corrigan the Robinsons were returning to Belfast when their car became stuck in snow in Drogheda. Mr Corrigan said he asked the Robinsons to stay in the car while he and others pushed the car to firmer ground.

But yesterday retired inspector Dan Prenty cast doubt on the account. He said he had been in charge of the protection operation and had not detailed Mr Corrigan for the job.

Mr Prenty said the Robinsons had travelled to Dublin and back on a number of days and he himself had travelled as part of the escort on day one. But under cross-examination from Jim O’Callaghan SC, for Mr Corrigan, Mr Prenty said it was possible that Mr Corrigan had insinuated himself into the escort. Mr Prenty agreed he could not say for a fact that Mr Corrigan had not protected the Robinsons as described.

Mr O’Callaghan said Mr Prenty’s evidence displayed “astonishing levels of malice and I would go so far as to say, hatred towards my client”.

Mr Prenty said: “I’m absolutely shocked to hear you make such an allegation. It’s not true.”

The tribunal is investigating claims of Garda-IRA collusion in the 1989 murders of two RUC officers.