Ex-Garda detective and Smithwick Tribunal figure Owen Corrigan dies

Inquiry set up to investigate if gardaí colluded in fatal shootings of senior RUC officers

Owen Corrigan, the former garda detective who featured prominently in the 2005 Smithwick Tribunal, has died.

The tribunal was established to investigate suggestions that members of An Garda Síochána colluded in the fatal shootings of RUC chief supt Harry Breen and supt Robert Buchanan in March, 1989.

It made no finding that Mr Corrigan was involved in collusion with the IRA in respect of the deaths. Mr Corrigan, however, had rejected the findings of the tribunal which concluded he had an inappropriate relationship with, and supplied information to, the Provisional IRA.

The former detective had said any dealings he had with the organisation were for the purposes of gathering intelligence and protecting the State.


In 2016, a case taken by Mr Corrigan challenging certain paragraphs of the tribunal report was settled before it got under way.

Mr Corrigan welcomed a resulting tribunal statement that its final report made no finding that the killing of Louth farmer Tom Oliver was as a result of information the ex-garda had provided to the Provisional IRA. The proceedings were struck out on the basis of that statement.

Oliver murder

Mr Oliver, a farmer and father of seven from Riverstown, Co Louth, was abducted near the Border in 1991 and shot dead. His body was later found in Co Armagh.

The High Court had previously been told that Mr Corrigan rejected what his lawyers described as "completely false and damaging" allegations that he told a senior IRA operative that Mr Oliver was a Garda informant shortly before he was abducted and murdered.

Mr Corrigan died suddenly at his home in Mount Hamilton, Ardee Road, Dundalk, on Monday, surrounded by family.

Funeral arrangements are to be announced at a later date.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times