Doubt cast on Robinson 'rescue'

 

A former Garda inspector based in Dundalk has cast doubt on claims that a colleague rescued Peter and Iris Robinson when their car got stuck in a snow storm in Drogheda.

Former inspector Dan Prenty told the Smithwick Tribunal he was in charge of detailing the Garda escort for the Robinsons who travelled to and from Dublin’s Central Criminal Court between January 13th and 16th, 1987.

But he cast doubt on an account of the alleged rescue of the Robinsons and their driver, by fellow former officer Det Sgt Owen Corrigan.

Mr Corrigan has previously 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 near the Bull Ring in Drogheda.

Mr Corrigan told the tribunal he feared for the Robinsons’ safety and asked them and their driver to remain in the car while he and some others pushed the car to firmer ground.

But Mr Prenty, who has been recalled by the tribunal to be cross examined on the issue and other aspects of Mr Corrigan’s evidence, said he had been in charge of the protection operation and he had not detailed Mr Corrigan for the job.

Jim O’Callaghan SC, for Mr Corrigan, cross-examined Mr Prenty and produced weather reports from The Irish Times of January 1987, which referred to significant disruption from snowfalls.

Mr O’Callaghan put it to him that Mr Prenty was unable to say absolutely that the incident with the car had not happened.

Mr O’Callaghan also accused Mr Prenty of "malice" and "hatred" against his client.

Mr Prenty agreed he could not say for a fact that Mr Corrigan had not protected the Robinsons as described but repeated Mr Corrigan had not been detailed for the job.

He denied allegations of malice or hatred.

Mr Prenty agreed he had never suggested Mr Corrigan was working for the IRA.

The tribunal is inquiring into allegations that members of An Garda, or other State employees colluded with the IRA in the 1989 murder of two RUC officers.

Chief Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan were shot dead as they returned from a meeting in Dundalk Garda station.