Tribunal hears of ex-garda's 'contempt'


A former detective sergeant had “utter contempt” for a “new regime” which took over in Dundalk in the mid to late 1980s and failed to hand over sources, or to formally give his new superiors the benefit of more than a decade of intelligence gathering.

Former detective Owen Corrigan told the Smithwick Tribunal this morning he believed sweeping changes in the management of Dundalk Garda station were introduced via British government pressure “at the insistence of the RUC”.

Asked by counsel for the PSNI Mark Robinson if it was true that he had “utter contempt” for the new regime Mr Corrigan said: "You can see the way I was treated."

Asked if he recalled describing the Garda station under the new regime as a “vampire’s den” Mr Corrigan said: “Well it wasn’t a bad description”.

Mr Robinson said Mr Corrigan had disengaged “with the process, had “no respect for the chain of command” and had failed “to hand over sources” to his new superiors.

Mr Robinson said Mr Corrigan had “impeded the flow of intelligence to An Garda Síochána” by failing to pass on intelligence.

Mr Corrigan replied; “I was leaving the force why should I pass on information to anyone?”

He added that in his career he had “saved more lives than any other member” and went on to detail how he was able to get an RUC suspect to reveal the location of a major arms dump, the discovery of which brought a virtual end to a bombing campaign in Belfast.

But Mr Robinson said that the “new regime” were “a force for months running around without any expertise…. You were aware of that but you did nothing to help”.

Mr Corrigan replied: “No”

However Mr Corrigan said “I answered any questions I was asked”.

Mr Robinson said: “Were you asked?”

Mr Corrigan replied: “No that is the point.”

Mr Robinson: “Did you volunteer?”

Mr Corrigan: “No”.

But Mr Corrigan later said that after he went on sick leave in 1989 and retired in 1991 he used meet some of the detectives at the station who would ask him to “dot the Is” and he would assist them.

The Smithwick Tribunal is inquiring into allegations that a member or members of the Gardaí based in Dundalk colluded with the IRA in the 1989 murder of two RUC officers. RUC chief superintendent Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan were killed in an IRA ambush in south Armagh minutes after leaving a meeting in Dundalk Garda station.